OSS 117 From Africa With Love: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022

If you’ve not managed to catch a film at the Alliance Française – French Film Festival yet – there is still time, but you’ll need to hurry! This year is one of the most diverse programs I can remember. There really is a film for everyone.

OSS 177 poster

In the quirky comedy category is OSS 117 From Africa With Love, specifically the secret agent spy spoof. 

It stars Oscar winner (Best Actor for The Artist in 2012) and all-round wonderful actor Jean Dujardin as the suave but clueless Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath alias agent OSS 177.

This is the third OSS 117 film, and while not as funny as the first two, is still entertaining.

These OSS 117 films are like a French version of Get Smart or Rowan Atkinson’s Johnny English

There’s even a book written about this particular French agent – The Philosophy of OSS 117 that teases out aspects of his racist, sexist, and clueless agent and how that works comedically. 

The film itself also does this, with the introduction of a new smarter younger breed of agent, OSS 1001, played by Pierre Niney (who is also the younger breed of French actor starring in Goliath in this year’s festival, and also in Yves Saint-Laurent).

The new agent is given the latest assignment in Africa, rather than the undiplomatic and racist OSS 117. The mission is to squash the increasingly powerful insurgents who are a threat to the current French preferred regime. And OSS 117 – he is relegated downstairs to data entry. 

But when OSS 1001 goes missing, OSS 117 is brought back into action to mount a rescue and complete the mission.

On the flight to Africa, OSS 117 prepares himself by reading Tin Tin Goes to Africa.

Without giving too much away, when the two pair up in Africa, the younger colleague highlights the older agent’s flaws, but also his humanity.

This film tries to make fun of a previously openly sexist and racist era but doesn’t quite make it. But the acting is great, there’s a bit of spy fighting action, and it’s fun to watch.

As a side note, French resistance fighter Jean Bruce wrote the character of OSS 117 a few years before Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

As the 2022 Alliance Francaise Film Festival draws to a close – there are still a few more opportunities to immerse yourself! Have you been enjoying this years festival?

Don’t miss Cynthia’s review of
– Farewell Mr. Hoffmann –
– Goliath –
– Paul WR’s Last Journey –
– Velvet Queen –
– Men On The Verge of A Nervous Breakdown –
– OSS 117 From Africa With Love – 

About the Contributor

Cynthia Karena

I am a freelance journalist, TV researcher and media trainer based in Melbourne. I write about tech, film, sustainability and travel among other things - and of course, all things French for MyFrenchLife.org. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram

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