John Lichfield: Just the part for you, M Sarkozy

Notebook

Share
Related Topics

When I was young, I had a friend who day-dreamed that his favourite film stars were acting out his everyday life. I didn’t play the game myself. Somehow, I could never picture John Wayne living in a village near Macclesfield.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, 56, has no such inhibitions. He apparently told his aides in the Elysée that his personal triumph in saving the Euro at the Brussels emergency summit this month was “exactly like Henry Fonda in 12 Angry Men”. In the film (directed by Sidney Lumet in 1957) the Henry Fonda character reverses, one at a time, the opinion of 11 fellow jurors who want to condemn an innocent young man to death. According to the investigative and satirical weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchainé, M Sarkozy boasted to his aides last week: “In just the same way, I turned around, one by one, the other leaders who wanted to punish Greece…”

M Sarkozy has become, late in life, a great film buff as I reported here a couple of months ago. His wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, reportedly decided that he was a lamentably uncultured man and ordered him last year to undergo a crash programme in classic literature and film.

It occurs to me that there are other notable films which M Sarkozy might easily merge with his humdrum, everyday life as President of the Republic. One obvious candidate, given his enthusiastic role in the Libyan war, would be the Rambo series. There is a startling facial, if not wider, resemblance between Nicolas Sarkozy and Sylvester Stallone.

Possible presidential line in a televised electoral debate next spring: “Any of you boys want to shoot, now’s the time...Live for nothing, or die for something. Your call.”

On the whole, however, I think that the movie role that might most suit M Sarkozy would be Rufus T. Firefly in Duck Soup (1933). If you add a grease-paint moustache, a cigar and a dishevelled longtailed-jacket, M Sarkozy would look just like Groucho Marx. (Born to Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo, a sixth brother, “Sarko”).

In Duck Soup, Groucho plays the unpredictable, self-regarding but irrepressible president of a debt-ridden country which begins with the letters Fr. The IMF, led by the former French finance minister, warned last week that France needed to do more to reduce its borrowing.

Possible snatch of dialogue from “Potage aux Canards” (2011):

Rufus T. Firefly (Nicolas Sarkozy): Now, how about lending this country twenty million dollars, you old skinflint?

Ambassador Trentino (Christine Lagarde): Twenty million dollars is a lot of money. I’d have to take that up with my Minister of Finance.

Rufus T. Firefly: Well, in the meantime, could you let me have twelve dollars until pay day?

The President will certainly not be casting himself, in the final episode of the Harry Potter saga. M Sarkozy, sensitive about his height, will have been displeased, by a recent confession by the French actor, Christophe Fluder.

M Fluder, who is 4ft tall, played a Gringotts Bank goblin in the latest Potter movie. He revealed in a couple of interviews that, to “pay homage to France”, he enlivened his goblin role by imitating the body language, and especially the “shoulder jerks”, of President Sarkozy.

Power isn’t always an aphrodisiac

Now that holiday time is here, the thoughts of most French people turn not to movies but to sex, according to the upmarket French news magazines. It is traditional for all four of the serious, weekly news mags to have a “sex-led” cover at some time in late July or August. Marianne kicked off last week with a front page which said “Sex: the real fantasies of French people”. The story inside was desperately dull but did include a new form of opinion poll, based not on political preferences but on sexual fantasties.

“Amongst the following political figures, with which two would you most willingly fantasise having sex?” Harris Interactive blushingly asked 1,024 French adults on behalf of the shameless Marianne. Far and away at the top of the poll came the beautiful, Senegalese-born, former human rights and sports minister, Rama Yade. She apparently stars in the erotic day-dreams of 25 per cent of French men and 2 per cent of French women. Nicolas Sarkozy did rather badly, appealing to only one per cent of men and one per cent of women.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a sex icon for 0 per cent of men and 1 per cent of women.

Jointly at the bottom of the poll came the two leading contenders in the Socialist presidential primary next October. Both François Hollande and Martine Aubry scored what cricketers call a “pair”: 0 per cent of male fantasies and 0 per cent of female fantasies. Ouch.

Are Mancunians ready to adopt Parisian ways?

The most startling French story of the week was missed by Le Monde and Le Figaro but not by the Manchester Evening News. The RATP, the state-owned company which runs the Paris Metro, is to take over the Mancunian tram nework, according to an MEN scoop.

To fit RATP’s corporate image, the Manchester trams will presumably have to be sprayed with the characteristic Paris “Metro smell”, an elusive blend of burned rubber, sweat and cheap perfume. Mild-mannered Mancunians will have to be taught how to push rudely into the trams before other passengers alight. And ticket salesmen and women will be trained in the 10 varieties of the “Don’t bother me” RATP scowl or pout. But the greatest culture shock of all will be that the trams will appear like clockwork every two to three minutes.



j.lichfield@independent.co.uk

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Bob Geldof  

Ebola is a political AND a medical disease

Paul Vallely
 

I've tried reason, but my cat is pig-ignorant

Dom Joly
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin