The Minister

The Minister is a 2011 French-Belgian political drama film directed by Pierre Schöller.


French Transport minister Bertrand Saint-Jean arrives at the scene of a serious bus crash with many fatalities. He later attends a news interview where he is asked about the French government plans to privatize some train stations as part of a budget reform. Transport minister Bertrand Saint-Jean is supposed to be a major actor of this reform, but neither he nor his friend and assistant Gilles approves the plan. Popular opinion also disapproves of privatization.
However, Bertrand doesn't want to oppose the Prime Minister. While his staff oppose the reform, Bertrand hopes the President will provide a watered-down reform to end popular protest. The Prime Minister promises the first step will only consist of five secondary train stations. Bertrand suffers so much from pressure that he has a nightmare in which he commits suicide after reading the five stations are the most prestigious in all of France.
Finally, when Bertrand thought all his staff would abandon him, Gilles ensures him he will stay to help Bertrand negotiate the reform into something acceptable.
In the end, the President intervenes himself to arbitrate. But contrary to Bertrand's hopes, he has no intention of softening the reform. Bertrand clearly noticed that he has no say in the reform details; his mission is to implement them to the letter while reassuring opponents. Even worse, the Prime Minister and President selected a new generation of assistants for Bertrand in this mission, explicitly ordering Gilles to be fired.
Bertrand silently accepts these orders. The film ends as he walks out of the President's office hiding how heartbreaking these orders are.


It premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival where it won the Un Certain Regard FIPRESCI Award. It received four Magritte Award nominations, winning three, including Best Foreign Film in Coproduction and Best Actor for Olivier Gourmet.