Dujardin spy spoof to close Cannes

Guy Bedos takes over reins of French franchise

by Richard Mowe

Jean Dujardin is off on a mission to Africa for the latest in the OSS 117 franchise scheduled as the final screening in this year’s Cannes Film Festival. His dancing partner is Fatou N’Diaye  (Image
Jean Dujardin is off on a mission to Africa for the latest in the OSS 117 franchise scheduled as the final screening in this year’s Cannes Film Festival. His dancing partner is Fatou N’Diaye (Image Photo: Gaumont/Christophe Brochet
Although the rumour machine has been rife for weeks the organisers of Cannes Film Festival finally have confirmed that the Last Screening (Dernière séance) of this year’s 47th edition will be the latest iteration of the spy spool OSS 117: From Africa With Love, which will hit French cinema screens in August.

OSS 117: From Africa With Love marks the third outing as the spy for Jean Dujardin
OSS 117: From Africa With Love marks the third outing as the spy for Jean Dujardin Photo: Gaumont/Christophe Brochet
The first two in the series OSS 117: Cairo - Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost In Rio were directed by Michel Hazanavicius who has relinquished the reins for the new film to director Guy Bedos on his third feature film outing after Mr and Mrs Adelman and La Belle Epoque.

Jean Dujardin reprises his role as the accident prone and distinctly politically incorrect secret agent who first saw light in writer Jean Bruce’s spy novels, (four years before James Bond) in the 1950s and 1960s. The pulp fiction series finally ran to 265 novels and spawned seven film versions between 1956 and 1970.

OSS 117 is a secret agent of the Office of Strategic Services, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, more commonly known by his code name OSS 117. The latest in the popular franchise features our hero sent on a mission to help out an African president under attack from rebels. We’re promised that the mission is trickier and more treacherous than ever with a younger rival waiting in the wings. The main baddie here is incarnated by Pierre Niney who memorably played by Yves St Laurent.

Of his character Dujardin says: “Remember it's the France of the 1950s. The movie heroes were like that, a bit macho, a bit homophobic, borderline racist and colonialist. The continuing idea is to mock that period, its movies and the French state of mind at the time.”

The screening will follow the prizes ceremony on 17 July and is now styled Last Screening rather than Closing Film. The Festival opens on 6 July with French director Leos Carax’s first film in English Annette, a musical with Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver.

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