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"To be continued",
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This review is from: In The House [DVD] (DVD)
In the House is about a teacher,Germain(Luchini), disillusioned with the bureaucracy, who teaches literature to his French students.He is married to Jeanne(Scott Thomas), who runs a gallery.He is entranced by gifted newcomer,16 year old Claude(Umhauer),who rises to the challenge set by Germain,to "write about what you did last week-end". This is like opening a pandora's box as Claude delivers continuing reports of his schoolfriend's(Rapha's) homelife,into whose house he's gained entry on the basis of helping him with maths.He gives a voyeuristic exposure of the father,Rapha,the mother, Esther(Seigner),and his desire for her underneath the banal life of the household,while seducing the expectant teacher with his talent.The genius of Flaubert hovers over their joint venture,as Germain puts to Claude the question:"Parody or realism?"while giving him extra lessons after school,so that Claude can continue writing his stories,to sustain audience interest Germain repeats"What is going to happen?"Story-telling is the film's structuring device.The film engages the mind rather than heart and has a strong nod to both Henry James(house of fiction)and Hitchcock's voyeuristic idea of the artist-as-spy in Rear Window.We also sense that great Rivette film,Celine and Julie Go Boating(girls get lost in a "house of fiction"). This is a black comedy,cautionary tale and psychological thriller as the childless Germain develops a father/son relationship with Claude,whose emerging talent depends on his only reader's encouragement,editing.
Germain warns Claude against caricature,gossip,art-catologue soft-focus,farce and "Barbara Cartland".The aim is to present things as they really are,plausibility rather than factuality.Claude and his teacher are at times present in the household they are shaping.Claude's writing moves from diary to metafiction;Ozon providing audio-visual rendering of Claude's stories.Photography isn't a truth-teller here but the best liar an illusionist ever had.Claude defends himself against Germain's criticisms, saying "I write what I see",but observations spur his imagination into speculation.The two leads Umhauer and Luchini carry the film,acquiring emotional depth whenthey lose everything,but choose to live in the house of fiction over reality.Scott Thomas is perfect as the shifting, brittle Jeanne,who is bored and embodies attitudes against which her husband can rail.Seigner is brilliant as the sleepy,latent Esther.