“In charge” on France 5, face to face at Matignon with Edouard Philippe


For a documentary filmmaker passionate about politics and the exercise of power, obtain the green light from the Prime Minister and be granted frequent visits to Matignon for three years, accompanied by more or less long tête-à-tête with the head of the executive, is an exceptional opportunity. This permission granted by Edouard Philippe, his old prep buddy met at the end of the 1980s in Paris, Laurent Cibien made good use. Almost three hours long, his exciting new documentary plunges into the heart of the exercise of power.

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Images that are sometimes baroque, almost offbeat, taken in the calm of the gardens of Matignon, between frolicking ducks and a small electric robot mowing the lawn in a silence more royal than republican. And suddenly, laughter escaping from an office, the voice of Piaf, Brassens, the riffs of Dire Straits or the Pink Floyd… A prime minister at ease in front of the camera and endowed with an obvious sense of humor . Then, over time and crises to manage, the stigmata of a grueling job appear on the increasingly marked face of a Prime Minister who, on several occasions, will hide nothing of his fatigue.

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Fruitful exchanges

Cibien and Philippe know each other well and do not share the same political opinions. But between the ” leftist “, as Edouard Philippe nicknamed his former comrade with a smile, and the right-wing politician rallied to the emerging macronism, mutual respect and shared humor allow fruitful exchanges. A finding that we could note during the broadcast in 2016 and 2018 of the first two episodes of their joint project entitled Edouard, my friend on the right. Project born during the reunion between the two men who had lost sight of each other for many years. Laurent Cibien, who had become a great reporter, was to follow the political career of the promising, but little known at the time, Edouard Philippe as closely as possible. The only limit: not to film the family.

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The first episode will be devoted to the 2014 municipal campaign in Le Havre. We discover a candidate Philippe capable of looking back on events. Without excessive modesty: elected with 52% of the vote, he launches to his friend: “It’s going to be your movie! “ The second part told the primaries of the right and the center in 2016, the campaign led by Philippe, close support of Alain Juppé, favorite it was believed. Back to earth after the choice of François Fillon as candidate for the Elysée… ” Two and a half years of my life end in defeat. But I really enjoyed doing this campaign, I learned a lot of tips! “, the future prime minister launched at the end of the film.

Third stage, Matignon. A new challenge for Laurent Cibien. How to continue filming his friend with the draconian security measures and the insane schedule that go with his new function? It was Edouard Philippe who, ten days after his appointment, offered Cibien to visit him every three weeks in Rue de Varenne, for a one-to-one conversation.

The result is up to expectations. From June 2017 to early July 2020, from crisis to crisis – pension reform, yellow vests, coronavirus … – we follow a Prime Minister juggling meetings, trips, meals taken on the go with his close associates, rare moments of relaxation … Thirty-six months in the heart of power. As Edouard Philippe said, smiling in front of the camera, a few days after his arrival in Matignon: ” What a story ! “

Edouard, my friend on the right. Documentary by Laurent Cibien. Episode 3 “At the helm”. France 5

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