In Cannes, ‘The Conquest’ shows Sarkozy’s rise

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In Cannes, ‘The Conquest’ shows Sarkozy’s rise

CANNES, France - Politics gets personal in “The Conquest,” a vivid re-imagining of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power and the simultaneous unraveling of his marriage.

As the first French leader to divorce, and then remarry, while in office, Sarkozy’s real-life saga is the stuff of soap operas and director Xavier Durringer treats it as such, viewing the five years of political jockeying that preceded Sarkozy’s 2007 election through the lens of his relationship with then-wife, Cecilia.

Hyped as a behind-the-scenes glance at the private lives of the Sarkozys, “The Conquest” was arguably the most highly anticipated French movie at the Cannes Film Festival, where it screened Wednesday.

Still, a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie proclaims it is a work of fiction “based on the lives of real people.”

Durringer insisted he wasn’t worried about the film’s historical accuracy.

“No one can say - even the politicians themselves, can’t say - that things happened exactly like this or that,” Durringer said at a news conference.

Sarkozy has said he wouldn’t go to see the film.

“In general, I don’t read what is written about me,” he said in an interview with Telerama magazine. “That’s because I’m never happy. If it’s critical, I find it unjust; if it’s flattering, it’s not flattering enough. ... So what’s the point?”

In the movie, Sarkozy comes off as a basically nice guy with ego issues.

At one point, he shouts at his advisers, “Don’t forget, I’m a Ferrari. When you open the lid, you need to wear gloves.”

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