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In the House (Dans la Maison) by François Ozon

March 4, 2013

Dans la Maison is many things: a thriller, a comedy, a film about cinema and I am sure I am forgetting something else you can find in it, Ozon is one of the great directors working today nonetheless this film is so rich and layered you can’t help but wonder how the French director has managed to keep it all under control in such a successful way. Professor Germain (Fabrice Luchini) is a high school literature teacher, Jeanne – his wife, played by Kristin Scott Thomas – manages an art gallery, they are bored with the mediocrity of our times, so when one day one of Germain’s pupils shows a powerful talent for writing it looks like an unexpected blessing. The appearance of Claude (Ernst Umhauer) is only the first u-turn in the mood and in the plot, characters and spectators are nothing but puppets scared, excited and entertained by Ozon and by Claude, his on screen persona.

What does it mean to be an artist? Is the artist a vampire feeding on the lives of the people around him to aliment his creativity? What kind of relationship exists between the creator and his audience? is it a morbid one? If Dans la Maison was only a film posing such questions it would be a heavy one, but Ozon is the first one to mock their seriousness – and he does it in many ways, the most brilliant is the appearance of films and books that have treated the same themes of his film. Dans la Maison represents feature number 20 for a director who has just turned forty-five years old but Ozon never ceases to astound us for his eagerness to renew himself and for his ability to choose great collaborators, the actors are pitch perfect here and while Luchini, Scott Thomas and Emmanuelle Seigner are not a surprise Ozon has obtained a great performance by the previously unknown Ernst Umhauer. Just like Ozon, Philippe Rombi – another chapter of a lifelong artistic relationship – exhibits chameleon like qualities providing a score worth of Bernard Herrmann. Dans la Maison will thrill you, will excite you, will make you laugh and will make you think: 100 minutes of cinematic delight.

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One Comment
  1. A fascinating film and Ernst Umhauer really earned his fee alongside a great actor like Luchini.

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