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15. Le Placard (The Closet)

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Francois Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) works for a condom manufacturer. He is an accountant who has been working at the factory for 20 years. A meek uninteresting bore, his wife divorced him two years earlier, his son despises him, and at work his colleagues smirk about how nerdy he is.

He learns that he is about to be fired.

Back at home, he tells his story to a neighbour called Belone (Michel Aumont). Belon listens and has an idea that will allow Francois to keep his job. Francois simply has to pretend to be gay. His theory is that the condom company will be terrified of the ramifications if it fires a gay man.

Belone fabricates photographs that show Pignon being overtly friendly with a leather-clad man. He mails them to workers at the factory. As anticipated, the news spreads quickly, and Pignon's colleagues now assume that his introverted personality is just an attempt to conceal his real self.

Santini (Gerard Depardieu) is an HR manager at the factory, who is also a rugby coach and a homophobic bigot He now feels obliged to befriend Pignon. Guillaume (Thierry Lhermitte) reinforces Santini's fears by telling him that he could be fired for political incorrectness.

Meanwhile, Pignon's co-workers are intrigued by the new Francois Pignon. For example, his female boss found him tedious when he was straight, but is keen to seduce him now.

As planned, the company fears a lawsuit, and feels obliged to keep him. Better still he is now universal acknowledged as an unusually interesting person.

Very funny. Light entertainment with most of the humour coming from people's reactions - especially the Gerard Depardieu character who has to make an effort to be politically correct. An incisive look at bigotry and political correctness, with some insights into French corporate life.

Incidentally, the character name François Pignon has been used in four other films by Francis Veber: L'Emmerdeur (1973), Les Compères (1983), Les Fugitifs (1986), and Le Dîner de cons (1998). It always belongs to an amiable fool.

Genre: comedy Drama
84 min
Director: Francis Veber
Country: France
Writing credits: Francis Veber, also dialogue
Produced by
Patrice Ledoux — producer
Alain Poiré — line producer
Original Music: Vladimir Cosma
Cinematography: Luciano Tovoli
Colour: Eastmancolor
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital

Daniel Auteuil — François Pignon
Gérard Depardieu — Félix Santini
Thierry Lhermitte — Guillaume
Michèle Laroque — Mlle Bertrand
Jean Rochefort — Kopel, the director
Alexandra Vandernoot — Christine
Stanislas Crevillén — Franck
Michel Aumont — Belone, the neighbour
Edgar Givry — Mathieu
Thierry Ashanti — Victor
Armelle Deutsch — Ariane
Michèle Garcia — Madame Santini
Laurent Gamelon — Alba
Vincent Moscato — Ponce
Irina Ninova — Martine
Marianne Groves — Suzanne
Philippe Vieux — Cop
Luq Hamet — Moreau
Philippe Brigaud — Lambert
Eric Vanzetta — Maitre D
Michel Caccia — Wine waiter
Jean-Paul Zucca — Watchman
Joël Demarty — Photographer
Dominique Thomas — Mover
Akihiko Nishida — Japanese visitor 1
Hiro Uchiyama — Japanese visitor 2
Yongsou Cho — Japanese visitor 3
Onochi Seietsu — Japanese visitor 4
Sylvaine Perrin — L'ouvrière de l'usine

The titles (in the US) of the best French films, sorted by title

  Title Year
8 Women2001
Music, Comedy, Crime, Mystery
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A Heart in Winter1992
Romance, Drama, Music
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Beauty and The Beast1946
Fantasy Drama, Romance
Jean Cocteau
Belle de Jour1967
Erotic Drama
Luis Buñuel
Betty Blue1986
Romace, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Birds Of A Feather1978
Edouard Molinaro
Bitter Moon1992
Sado-masochistic Erotic Drama
Roman Polanski
Drama, Romance
Jean-Luc Godard
Children of Paradise1945
Drama, Romance
Marcel Carne
10 Cyrano de Bergerac1990
Romance, Drama
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
11 Delicatessen1991
Sci-Fi Comedy
Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
12 Diva1981
Action Thriller, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
13 French Twist1995
Josiane Balasko
14 Hidden2005
Michael Haneke
15 Hiroshima, Mon Amour1959
Romance, Drama
Alain Resnais
16 Jean de Florette1986
Drama, Modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
17 Jesus of Montreal1989
Denys Arcand
18 Jules et Jim1961
Romance, Drama
François Truffaut
19 La Controverse de Valladolid1992
History (16thC), Drama
Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe
20 La Femme Nikita1990
Crime, Thriller, Romance, Drama
Luc Besson
21 Manon of the Spring1986
Drama, Romance, modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
22 Monsieur Hire1989
Crime Thriller, Romance, Drama
Patrice Leconte
23 My Life in Pink1997
Comedy Drama
Alain Berliner
24 One Swallow Brought Spring2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Christian Carion
25 Queen Margot1994
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, History, Romance
Patrice Chéreau
26 Ridicule1996
History (18thC) Drama
Patrice Leconte
27 Swimming Pool2003
Psychological Thriller, Mystery Drama
François Ozon
28 The 400 Blows1959
Crime Drama
François Truffaut
29 The Big Blue1988
Drama, Romance
Luc Besson
30 The City of Lost Children1995
Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
31 The Closet2001
Comedy Drama
Francis Veber
32 The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie1972
Surreal Black Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Luis Buñuel
33 The Dominici Affair1973
Crime Drama Mystery
Claude Bernard-Aubert
34 The Double Life of Veronique1991
Music, Fantasy, Romance, Psychological Drama
Krzysztof Kieslowski
35 The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
36 The Girl On The Bridge1999
Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Patrice Leconte
37 The Hate1995
Crime, Drama
Mathieu Kassovitz
38 The Last Metro1980
Romance, History (WW2) Drama
François Truffaut
39 The Piano Teacher2001
Drama, Music
Michael Haneke
40 The Reader1988
Mildly Erotic Comedy Fantasy
Michel Deville
41 The Return of Martin Guerre1982
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, Crime, Mystery,
Daniel Vigne
42 The Visitors1993
Fantasy, Comedy
Jean-Marie Poiré
43 Three Colors: Blue1993
Drama, Music, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
44 Three Colors: Red1994
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
45 Three Colors: White1994
Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski

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