The Élysée Palace on show at Cannes

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy will both feature prominently at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but will do so under very different circumstances.

Bruni-Sarkozy, the super model turned singer-songwriter turned First Lady, is making her acting debut in Woody Allen’s film, “Midnight in Paris” - which is set to open Cannes 2011.

While she has a small role in Woody Allen’s flick, First Lady Carla has made it into the official film trailer and is expected to grace the red carpet when Cannes kicks off on May 11.

And whether he wants it or not, Sarkozy will also make a splash at Cannes. Director Xavier Durringer’s biopic, “The Conquest” (La Conquete), traces Sarkozy’s rise to power, and does so with no deference to the nation’s highest office.

Durringer’s film is part of a recent French “true fiction” trend to retell the lives of its post-war presidents. In 2005, the film “Le promeneur du champ de Mars” showed François Mitterrand struggling to write his memoirs. And more recently, the made-for-TV movies “Ce jour là, tout a changé” (2010) and “Mort d’un president” (2011) tackled important moments in the lives of Charles de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou respectively.

“The Conquest” however, is the first film about a sitting French president to be shot and screened during his term in office.

Judging from the previews, it seems to be a no-holds barred account of a candidate’s willingness to bury his political allies and destroy his marriage in a merciless march to the Élysée presidential palace.

Sarkozy’s opponents are already relishing its upcoming release, as well as the trailer, which shows Sarkozy telling off staff: “Don’t forget, I’m a Ferrari, you open the hood with white gloves on!”

Coming a year ahead of the 2012 presidential poll, “The Conquest” is quite likely to hurt Sarkozy’s chances of re-election. And I doubt the famously wooden First Lady’s performance in “Midnight in Paris” will have audiences calling for an encore either.


Trailer for Xavier Durringer's film "The Conquest" (La Conquête).


Trailer for Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris".

First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's four seconds of trailer glory start at 00:34.

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