See “In the House”!

By Roger Childs

Ozon weaves another spellbinding tale that mingles the real and the imaginary with terrific effect. Empire Magazine

François Ozon in top form

Francois Ozon This is a movie which featured in the recent Wellington Film Festival, and is now showing at Shoreline and other mainstream cinemas. It’s another gem from French director. François Ozon. who is a wonderful observer of human foibles, changing relationships and class interactions. His films always include plenty of humour, subtle changes in pace and unexpected plot shifts.

The cinematography is invariably impeccable. In Dans La Maison Ozon starts with a rapid time-lapse sequence of the beginning of a school day and ends with a delightful scene of teacher and pupil gazing at a three level apartment block, giving a multi-level twist to the meaning of “in the house”.

The wonderful Kristen Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas The beautiful Kristen Scott Thomas is aging so gracefully it almost makes a woman excited to get old. Rosanagh Griffiths in the London Film Review 

 Scott-Thomas has been specialising in French film roles in recent years which include excellent movies like I’ve Loved You So Long and The Woman in the Fifth. In the former she was superb as the sister recently released from prison having served time for murder. Speaking impeccable French, she is well cast in In the House as a frustrated wife and anxious gallery manager.

Taking a teacher-pupil relationship to new levels

Germain is a rather bored literature teacher in a French school. When students are asked to write about what they did in the weekend, the parentless Claude produces a piece which has Germain and Jeanne intrigued. Claude has befriended the gormless Rapha to help him with his maths, but has an ulterior motive: getting inside Rapha’s house to observe a “normal” family and especially his classmate’s glamorous mother.

Germain, egged on by Jeanne, who is struggling to make her art gallery profitable, encourages Claude to write more. The boy continues his story, but enigmatically ends each episode with to be continued.

Captivated by the vicarious thrill of it all, the reckless Germain encourages Claude to abuse Rapha’s trust and tease out more revealing stories. (Trevor Johnston Time Out)

A quality cast

This superbly acted black comedy seems certain to end in tears, however you will need to track down In the House to see how it turns out. Fabrice Luchini is very impressive as the excitable Germain. Art house film buffs will recall his wonderful performances as the building owner interacting with the Spanish maids in The Women on the Sixth Floor and as the philandering factory owner with the trophy wife in Potiche.

In-the-House-Movie-ReviewTeenager Ernst Umhauer, is very convincing as the precocious Claude. He moves easily between the various roles of attentive student, randy schoolboy, manipulative friend and fascinated voyeur.

In the House sees Ozon on top of his game and this film, which has an entertaining mix of drama, humour, duplicity and passion, is well worth a look.