Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Oss 117 - Le Caire Nid d'Espions|
Actors: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika, Philippe Lefebvre, Constantin Alexandrov
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy
Chicken chucker, arms dealer, Brit killer..Voila!
D. Hartley | Seattle, WA USA | 10/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""I was woken by a guy screaming on a tower. I couldn't sleep. I had to shut him up."
(Shocked tone) "A muezzin? You `shut up' a muezzin?! He was calling for prayer!!"
(Bemusedly) "Yours is a strange religion. You'll grow tired of it...it won't last long."
No, that transcript is not excerpted from secret Oval Office tapes; it's an exchange between the cheerfully sexist, jingoistic, folkway-challenged and generally clueless French secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (alias OSS 117) and his Egyptian liaison, the lovely Larmina El Akmar Betouche. The scene is from OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, a gallingly amusing Gallic spy romp from director Michel Hazanavicius.
The director and his screenwriter Jean-Francois Halin adapted the script based on characters from the original "OSS 117" novels by Jean Bruce, which concerned the misadventures of an Ian Fleming-esque French government agent. The books inspired a series of films, produced in France between 1956 and 1970.
After a brief b&w prologue depicting agent OSS 117 (Jean Dujardin) handily dispatching a Nazi adversary from a plane (sans parachute) in a wartime escapade, the film flash-forwards to the year 1955. Hubert (as we will refer to him going forward) is sent to Cairo to investigate the mysterious death of a fellow agent. He is assisted by the aforementioned Larmina (Bernice Bejo) and just like an undercover 007, he is given a business front. In this case, our intrepid agent poses as a chicken exporter; and yes, all of the inherent comic possibilities involving this most ubiquitous species of barnyard fowl are gleefully explored (and the credits assure us that none were harmed during filming).
As the intrigue thickens, Hubert encounters some sexy royalty in the person of La princesse Al Taouk (Aure Atika) as well as the usual Whitman's assortment of shady informers, sneaky assassins and dirty double dealers that populate exotic spy capers. In the interim, thanks to his deGaullist stance and blissful cultural ignorance of the Muslim world, Hubert manages to deeply offend nearly every local he comes in contact with. As one Egyptian associate muses to himself: "He is very stupid...or very smart."
Hazanavicius has concocted a tremendously well-crafted and entertaining spy spoof here that actually gets funnier upon repeat viewings. Unlike the Austin Powers films, which utilizes the spy spoof motif primarily as an excuse for Mike Meyers to string together an assortment of glorified SNL sketches and (over) indulge in certain scatological obsessions, this film stays manages to stay true and even respectful to the genre and era that it aspires to parody. The acting tics, production design, costuming, music, use of rear-screen projection, even the choreography of the action scenes are so pitch-perfect that if you were to screen the film side by side with one of the early Bond entries (e.g. From Russia With Love) you would swear the films were produced the very same year.
I also have to credit the director's secret weapon, which is leading man DuJardin. He has a marvelous way of underplaying his comedic chops that borders on genius. He portrays his well-tailored agent with the same blend of arrogance and elegance that defined Sean Connery's 007, but tempers it with an undercurrent of obliviously graceless social bumbling that matches Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau. One of the film's running gags has Hubert uttering "deep thought" epiphanies that belabor the obvious. While getting a massage, he announces: "I love being rubbed with oil." While at breakfast, he realizes: "I love buttering my toast." Stopping to gaze at a public fountain, he wistfully offers: "I love the white noise water makes." DuJardin delivers these lines with the knowing wisdom of a high lama, imparting a Zen proverb. I tell you, the man is a bloody genius. Not to be missed.
Another great spy spoof
Genevieve Hayes | Australia | 12/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117 (Jean Dujardin), is the most incompetent and culturally insensitive spy who has ever lived. However, none of his superiors in the French secret service seem to have noticed. After the mysterious disappearance of his former partner, Jack, OSS 117 is sent to Cairo to complete the assignment that Jack was working on. He must go underground as a poultry farmer and stop an arms smuggling operation involving Egyptian extremists and Nazis.
This is the eighth film to feature OSS 117, a James Bond-esque spy (the first OSS 117 movie actually pre-dated the movie of "Dr No"). Apparently the previous films in the series were relatively "serious" espionage films, made between 1956 and 1970, but this more recent update of the series is played purely for laughs and it succeeds immensely. "Cairo, Nest of Spies" is a very silly film that had me laughing harder than I have in a long time. What makes this film so great is the fact that the humour plays on so many different levels. Not only is there a lot of very funny visual humour (simply the expression on Dujardin's face was enough to make me laugh in a number of scenes), but the script is also very well written and contains a lot of great lines. Although made in 2006, the film is set in the 1950's and much of the humour comes from OSS 117's complete lack of cultural awareness and of his patronizing attitude towards all Egyptians.
Don't be put off by the subtitles, this is a great film that will appeal to any fan of spy comedies such as "Austin Powers" and "Get Smart", even if you don't speak French.
Zagora | New York, NY | 11/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this film in Paris back in April. It had no subtitles, and my grasp of French is not great, but since the comedy is mostly physical, it had me rolling in the aisles. WARNING: There were some actions I thought might offend Moslems, but they are perpetrated by someone who is meant to be a jerk, so the joke is not at Moslems' expense. I've been waiting for this film to come out on DVD - I can't wait to own it."
FRENCH PARODY OF SPY THRILLERS OF THE 60'S
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 05/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OSS 117: LE CAIRE NID D'ESPIONS (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies) earned the 2007 César (French Oscar) in the Best Production design category. The film is based on the original characters of writer Jean Bruce. Back in the sixties, after the international success of the James Bond movies, French producers decided to produce a certain numbers of films based on such popular heroes as OSS 117 or Le Tigre, aka The Tiger. Claude Chabrol, for instance, directed two Le Tigre movies in 1964 and 1965.
Now, if you haven't seen one of these movies, I really don't know whether you'll like this parody. To make short, if you appreciated Mel Brooks's Silent Movie or the Airplane! (Don't Call Me Shirley! Edition) serie, you could like OSS 117, LE CAIRE NID D'ESPIONS whose gags are as much verbal than visual. I personally liked a lot this film.
A DVD zone it's French but it's not boring.