Conquest (2011): Xavier Durringer Feature about French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

(La conquête)

Cannes Film Fest 2011–“The Conquest,” the new French feature by Xavier Durringer, concerns  the rise to power of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Adapted to the screen by Xavier Durringer from a script by writer-documentary filmmaker Patrick Rotman (“Chirac”), with political journalist Michaël Darmon serving as writing consultant, the film stars Denis Podalydès as Sarkozy, Florence Pernel as Cécilia Sarkozy, Bernard Le Coq as Jacques Chirac, Hippolyte Girardot as Claude Guéant, and Samuel Labarthe as Dominique De Villepin.
An official selection of the 2011 Cannes Film Fest, “The Conquest” will be released in New York and Los Angeles on November 11, followed by a national release.


“The Conquest” bears the distinction of being the first film to expose the drama around a national election of a leader to be made and released during that person’s term in office.


The docu centers on May 6, 2007, during France’s run-up to the presidential elections. As the French people are getting ready to go to the polls to elect their new president, candidate Nicolas Sarkozy has shut himself away in his home.


Strangely, though Sarkozy knows he has won the election, he is alone and appears to be inexplicably gloomy and despondent. It turns out that, for hours, he has been trying to reach his wife, Cécilia but to no avail.


Through flashbacks, the last five years of his rich life unfold, recounting Sarkozy’s unstoppable ascent, riddled with in-party backstabbing, media manipulation, riots, sarcastic confrontations and extra-marital affairs.

Aptlt titled, “The Conquest” chronicles the volatile right-leaning Sarkozy’s startling rise to become President of France and the emotional and psychological stakes that such a power struggle involves.


On the day Sarkozy achieved his ultimate ambition, his wife, who for twenty years had struggled to pull him from the shadow into the light, walked out on him for another man.

French playwright Xavier Durringer exposes with sardonic humor the absurd events and eccentric personalities that accompany such high-profile and expensive political campaigning.


Based on public documents and informal first-person accounts, “The Conquest” reveals the outer and inner machinations of a bitter campaign in a new age, dominated by new media technologies.


There have been journalistic accounts analyzing how modern elections are fought and won, going back at least to Theodore White’s 1960 book “The Making of the President.” Indeed, politicians, either living, deceased, or thinly disguised, have been the protags of a wide variety of feature films.


“The Conquest” adds a panel to a growing genre of satirical films and exposes, which includes “The Ides of March,” “The Iron Lady,” “Game Change,” “W.,” “The Queen,” “Nixon/Frost,” and “In the Loop.”




Music Box Films release.


Running time: 105 minutes.


In French with English subtitles.



Directed by Xavier Durringer.


Produced by Eric and Nicolas Altmayer.