’s "The French Minister
" reaches America this Friday 40 years after his feature debut, 1974's "The Clockmaker." At 72, Tavernier shows no signs of slowing his eclectic experimentation: the film marks his first attempt at straight-up comedy and opened strong in France, though cumulative admissions at home didn’t eclipse 2010's vigorous medieval adventure "The Princess Of Montpensier" or 2008's New Orleans-set, Tommy Lee Jones
-starring mystery "In The Electric Mist
," three films that are a representative sampling of Tavernier’s genre-sampling career. The original title for "The French Minister
" is "Quai D'Orsay
," the Paris wharf where the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located. Enter cautiously idealistic Arthur Vlaminck (Raphaël Personnaz
), hired as speechwriter to minister Alexandre Taillard de Vorms (Thierry Lhermitte
). Taillard is a nearly-literal whirlwind, whose door-slamming entries and exits send papers flying into brief tornadic spirals within a...