Stephen Arnell

Trump and the art of compromising material

Ten of the best films about political kompromat

  • From Spectator Life
Donald Trump with Emmanuel Macron [Getty Images]

When the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, they found a file titled ‘Info re: President of France’. Many have speculated (with no little encouragement from Trump himself) that it contains illicit details of Emmanuel Macron’s sex life

Whatever the truth about this particular cache, political kompromat has long been a source of great drama – both on and off screen. Some bring it upon themselves – Gary Hart blew his chances of securing the US Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 by inviting reporters to dig up dirt on him (‘Follow me around, put a tail on me. You’d be very bored’). They promptly did – and the events surrounding the 51-year-old married senator’s alleged dalliance with 29-year-old Donna Rice are explored in 2018’s The Front Runner, with Hugh Jackman as Hart.

The early 1960s was a particularly fecund time for motion pictures about the blackmail of politicians over sexual indiscretions, likely due to the Profumo affair in the UK and gossip surrounding JFK’s shenanigans in the States. Here are ten of the best movies about gathering dirt on political opponents:

Kompromat (2022) – UK release TBC

Drawn from real life, this thriller from Jérôme Salle (Anthony Zimmer) stars Gilles Lellouche (Tell No One) as Mathieu, a French diplomat posted to Siberia whose support of artistic expression in the region irks the authorities enough for Russia’s security service to concoct a false story of sexual abuse to frame him. Imprisoned pre-trial, the attaché decides to escape with his wife and daughter – a tough decision considering his location in the frozen Irkutsk Oblast of Eastern Siberia. Lellouche will next star as Obelix in next year’s fifth instalment (Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Kingdom) in the live action movie Asterix franchise. Guillaume Canet (The Siege of Jadotville) will direct and star as Asterix, with Vincent Cassel as Caesar and Marion Cotillard playing Cleopatra.

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