La Conquête (The Conquest), a first for the political film genre

Xavier Durringer © AFP

In La Conquête (The Conquest), Xavier Durringer has created an unprecedented feature film. The piece is being presented Out of Competition and examines the current French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, played by Denis Podalydes. Never before has an active Head of State been the subject of a film.


Nicolas Sarkozy, Dominique de Villepin, Rachida Dati and many other politicians who are currently making headlines can now be seen on the big screen. La Conquête (The Conquest), directed by Xavier Durringer, is a first in cinematic history. “When Eric and Nicolas Altmayer approached me about a film telling the story of Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power, written by Patrick Rotman, I was a little concerned, because there’s never been a film about a sitting President – not even in the US” says the director. La Conquête (The Conquest) is not a documentary: it is a piece of fiction, and the characters are played by actors. But scriptwriter Patrick Rotman insists, “There are some scenes, fewer than ten, which are completely true (…). The overwhelming majority have been invented, but the political content and commentary is correct. We wanted to create a detailed and faithful reconstruction”.
The film covers the five years running up to the election of the current president, played by Denis Podalydes. Xavier Durringer gives a behind-the-scenes view of his rise to power that involved so many arguments and confrontations, and centres on those around him. The film also features Cécilia Sarkozy, played by Florence Pernel, Claude Guéant portrayed by Hippolyte Girardot, and even Jacques Chirac, bearing a striking resemblance to Bernard Le Coq. “We were determined from the outset to retain the names of the main characters, which led to a few legal issues,” says Xavier Durringer. “But the more people advised me to stay away from the subject, the more passionate I became about seeing it through. I had to make this film”.



The film is being screened at 11.30 am and 7.30 pm in Grand Théâtre Lumière.