french films > OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

OSS 117

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

Review score: * * * * *

cast: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika

year: 2006

colour: yes

certificate: PG

director: Michel Hazanavicius

runtime: 95

The film is a continuation of the OSS 117 series of spy films from the 1950s and 1960s, which were in turn based on a series of novels by Jean Bruce, a prolific French popular writer. However, instead of taking the genre seriously, the film parodies the original series and other conventional spy films, most noticeably the early James Bond series right down to the cinematography, art direction and costume of the 1960s. For example, driving scenes are all filmed with obvious rear projection and camera movements are simple, and avoid the three-dimensional Steadycam and crane movements that are easily accomplished today. The main character in the OSS 117 series is a secret agent of the Office of Strategic Services, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, also known by his code name OSS 117. The character is played by French comedian Jean Dujardin. The main plot starts with the disappearances of an OSS agent, Jack Jefferson, and a Russian cargo ship in Cairo. Agent OSS 117 is sent to investigate the events, since he and agent Jefferson share a history, shown in a short opening sequence and in flashbacks throughout the film. OSS 117 stumbles into a web of international intrigue, that involves the French, separate factions of Egyptians, Russians, a goofy Belgian spy and even Neo-Nazis of the first hour. Throughout the film the main character has two main romantic interests. The first is an Egyptian princess Al Tarouk, who can't resist the charms of OSS 117. The second is the former assistant of Jack Jefferson, Larmina El Akmar Betouche, who at first shows no interest in the main character, but warms up to him in the end.

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