Mitterrand Rising

Eric Moulin/Film Oblige

SWAN SONG: Bouquet, at left, plays the President in a film about his last years

As he is ushered to his official car, the old man turns and flashes a Delphic smile. "I'm the last of the grand presidents," he says matter-of-factly. "After me, there will be no others in France." Thus spoke François Mitterrand, obsessed with his place in history, to a young writer in May 1995 — the final month of his 14 years at the Elysée. The writer went on to put those words into the script of Le Promeneur du Champs de Mars (Walker on the Champs de Mars), director Robert Guédiguian's spare, focused film about Mitterrand's final years — in which...

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