Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dinner Games. Though in some respects Sarkozy does recall Louis de Funes and the comic posturing, the ideal context in which to place the French leader would be Francois Weber’s Le Diner des Cons. Sarkozy is such an exasperating figure and clash of contradictions that he likely possesses the rare talent to play both central roles in the film. That of the jackass of the week invitee and the arshole loser of a bourgeoise.That is, Sarkozy is not quite as smart as he would smugly like us to believe, and not quite as ridiculous as the government bureaucrat in the movie. But with Sarko, you never know…
In the film, the lead Pierre Brochant (Thierry Lhermitte) is a jaded and arrogant publishing executive who tries to shake the boredom from his wealthempty existence by participating in “idiot dinners” hosted by his friends. Its the art of the narcissistic insult. In these evenings, each attendee is required to bring a fresh guest , a victim who will incarnate some form of less than flattering personality traits, and who are physically less “chic and swell” than the organizers.
The oblivious guests, the selected “idiot” does not comprehend they are the source of the private joke of a private joke, and feel kind of honored to be invited by the upper strata. The participants seem to cruelly enjoy hunting this type of prey and playing the alpha male on easy targets. So, each tries to outdo the other by finding increasingly vulnerable and fragile individuals. Although the film is comedic, one can see that pushed further the scenario could wander into some dark places. One day, Pierre meets François Pignon played by Jacques Villeret,a civil servant working for the “fisc” in the tax evasion department. His pastime is constructing models of known landmarks with matchsticks that are quite complex. It’s kind of sad really to see this Eleanor Rigby figure trying to pass through his existence as best he can and suffer as little as possible . In fact, his tormenters are the jackasses who flaunt all the vulgarities in the complete inventory of white male privilege. In François, Pierre has faith he has found the perfect idiot for the next dinner. As bad luck would have it, on the night of the dinner, Pierre throws out his back and is unable to attend.
Unfortunately, the newfound and disposable friend, insists on staying around to help him, which turns into a series disasters which leave Pierre’s comfortable life in tatters. Call it the idiot’s revenge. So, Sarkozy can play both roles; the jerky, ignorant and selfish person with a relish for the low political blow, marked by an absence of any compassion and caring. But he is also the perfect idiot who can arouse some sympathy by a natural awkwardness, an inflated and transparent sense of self, and perhaps a hint of the inept.
Vebers film is a play on Moliere’s seventeenth-century tradition of the fable on how humans treat each other , though its hard to match Moliere’s acute depth of the tragic. As Moliere says in the Misanthrope: I will fly from an abyss where vice is triumphant; and seek out some small secluded nook on earth;where one may enjoy the freedom of being an honest man.And Veber has Marlène say in Dinner:I am going to go back to India. Personally, I can’t live here anymore; the people are too nasty. Do you see what I’m saying? There are similarities. Finally, perhaps humans shouldn’t improve themselves — what then would playwrights write about? Read More:http://www.theatrefrancais.com/attachments/press_kit-the_dinner_game.pdf