French President Francois Hollande (R) embraces German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Berlin - AFP
Imagine the president of France bringing the German chancellor croissants for breakfast after an all-night summit between the sheets.
Imagine no longer: this is the premise of a primetime romantic comedy which premieres Tuesday on German TV in which a workaholic German chancellor ends up falling for a dashing French leader.
All resemblances to reality have been thrown to the wind in "Die Staatsaffaere" (The State Affair) with the chancellor played by German blonde bombshell Veronica Ferres, while French actor Philippe Caroit, 54, is even better looking than former French president Jacques Chirac in his prime.
While the fizz may have gone out of Franco-German relations since Francois Hollande failed to tempt pastor's daughter Angela Merkel from the narrow path of fiscal rectitude, the TV film on the SAT. 1 channel pushes the frisson of sex and power to the hilt.
Ferres plays Chancellor Anna Bremer as a woman married to the job, but her cool exterior melts when she starts working alongside newly-elected French president Guy Dupont at the heart of the eurozone.
During an EU summit, Bremer realises that, in fact, the two leaders already know each other -- from a passionate encounter they had 25 years earlier the night the Berlin Wall fell.
As fast as you can say fiscal stimulus, the flame is re-ignited.
Passions however have been less enflamed among critics.
News website Spiegel Online commented that an "absurd premise for a plot doesn't necessarily have to say something negative about a film -- it could nevertheless be a sexy satire about the political class or a romantic comedy in an unusual setting".
But it said the production wasn't either.
Berliner Zeitung, a daily in the capital, was also unconvinced, saying that when Ferres "says such stately sentences as 'I must think of my country', unfortunately it sounds like, 'I must think of my cake in the oven.'"
Ferres, 49, told the Passauer Neue Presse last month that it was "a great honour" to be able to play the world's most powerful woman and she had spoken about the film project with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"She was very amused," the paper quoted Ferres as saying, adding that a senior party ally of the chancellor had visited the set.
While many might have questioned casting such a glamorous actor as Ferres to play the leader of a country accused by some of bending a whole continent to its will in the battle to save the eurozone, there are some parallels.
Her past roles have included Madame Thenardier in the 2000 French TV mini-series "Les Miserables", in which she played a schemer bent on impoverishing any poor wretch who crossed her path.