OSS 117: Le Caire nid d’espions

Director: Michel Hazanavicius

France. 2006. 99 mins

Spoofing Secret Service spies such as James Bond has almost become a genre unto itself. This new film not only spoofs the original source material (a series of novels by Jean Bruce), but also takes on former French colonial relations in a hilariously ditsy and politically incorrect way without ever feeling out of synch, which makes OSS 117 one of the most hilarious films of the year. It is 1955: Agent OSS 117 is sent to the Egyptian capital to execute a whole shopping list of items for the French Secret Service: investigating the death of his Cairo-based friend and spy Jack; controlling the Suez Canal and establishing Middle Eastern peace. OSS 177 is just the man for these missions: he does not have a clue but arrogance and luck go a long way in helping. The film pays homage to various 1960s television series, felt in its impeccable production design and animated opening sequence, its particularly bad lip synching (here used for the foreign characters) and wonderfully ostentatious use of bluescreen filming in the car-and-desert landscape sequences. A retro score by Ludovic Bource completes this wonderful comedic outing.

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