Le Bon Plaisir, based on the novel by Francoise Giroud
Le Bon Plaisir is a film that has received almost no attention- there is only one critic that has written about it, although there are two nominations for the Cesar Awards and this film stars two of the legends of cinema.
Catherine Deneuve has the role of Claire Despres, a young woman who is attacked on the street and her purse is taken by a criminal who now has in his hands a very valuable, private communication between his victim and a very important person, in a position of power.
That man is the president of the French Republic, played by the titan Jean-Louis Trintignant- who has given us recently the immense pleasure of watching his remarkable, memorable performances in two of the best films in the past decades: Amour and Happy End- reviewed here: http://realini.blogspot.ro/2018/04/happy-end-written-and-directed-by.html
The plot of the story reminds a viewer from this land of one of the best plays that has been written here- and elsewhere for that matter- O Scrisoare Pierduta aka The Lost Letter- also reviewed on the same blog - http://realini.blogspot.ro/2014/04/o-scrisoare-pierduta-by-ion-luca.html
Once the letter is out, it becomes the element that torments the president, obsessed as he is with getting this piece of compromising evidence and involving the state, the agencies of the republic in trying to recuperate the message that says so much about his personality.
This lack of character, courage, integrity, dignity, manhood, responsibility, vitality, fairness, kindness, loyalty and other essential human qualities is so repugnant that the character becomes loathsome very soon.
The president calls his longtime friend and ally, who is the minister of the interior now and has so many resources available, to handle the investigation, which is actually a private affair, for he does not want the media to learn anything about the letter.
Michel Serrault is another magnificent French actor, who plays this official who visits with Claire- the two have known each other for quite some time- and asks her about the incident, the theft and details on what the plan is…
The friend of the chef d’état – at least so far- is placing on the table all the options, including the one in which the opposition, those who fight the president, political enemies might have convinced the former lover to give them a powerful weapon ion this game.
The woman is offended by this hypothesis that there was no attack and in fact, she has submitted the compromising document to inflict pain on the man who has in fact been rude and repellent to her.
This could have well been a very wrong maneuver; a serious tactical, strategic mistake that has in fact hardened and turned the woman that we know has really been attacked on the street against the president and his men.
Meanwhile Pierre aka the talented Hippolyte Girardot is the young man who has the purse and the document which comes into the possession of an editor, publisher Herbert, who reads it and knows he is familiar with the style, but not aware who the writer is.
Herbert is able to identify a few traits from the text, such as the fact that the author is educated, sophisticated, intelligent, but somewhat too self-absorbed and full of himself, guess work that turns out to be accurate.
The President and Claire Despres have a child, a boy that is brought up abroad, in America and for whose education and support his mother has asked nothing from the head of state.
Indeed, this makes his position ever more ridiculous, paranoiac, wrong, awful, stomach churning, since he is so preoccupied with self, political gain and the elimination of whatever can compromise his tenure, political career and wellbeing, instead of caring for the son and other things outside his dear persona.
There is a dialogue with the former maitresse, in which he talks about the eventuality, if all this goes well, in the rather distant future, after his possible, constitutional terms have ended, to recognize, give his name to the son, but that is still rather obnoxious on his part.
He looks at the boy and says that his good looks must be from his mother and intelligence…well, we all know where that must come from- he then tells him to eat his vegetables, after the offspring refuses fish and then goes out to play football or soccer with the agents of the Gendarmerie.
The president has a conflictual discussion with the Frist Lady, who refuses to attend official events from one point, and when he visits in her room she insists she is feeling well, but cannot stand this merde anymore and she has had enough of him already, giving the details of their terrible marital situation.
He has married this woman only because she would confer on him a series of political advantages, seeing as she was the daughter of a local leader the prefect of a region and this strategic move helped the ambitious, upcoming politician climb the steps of power, with his consort taking part in all the receptions, opening of pools, kindergartens and all.
In a way, we could think of this as an intelligent, erudite –which is on the other hand a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron- Trump: ruthless, incapable of empathy- although there is a recurrent, sick and on the border of incest continual reference in extremely inappropriate terms to his daughter- mean, domineering, infatuated, narcissistic, selfish monster.