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Paris, 1942. Robert Klein cannot find any fault with the state of affairs in German-occupied France. He has a well-furnished flat, a mistress, and business is booming. Jews facing discrimination because of laws edicted by the French government are desperate to sell valuable works of art - and it is easy for him to get them at bargain prices. His cosy life is disrupted when he realizes that there is another Robert Klein in Paris - a Jew with a rather mysterious behaviour. Very soon, this homonymy attracts the close - and menacing - attention of the police on the established art trader. Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
Delon as the classic "individualist" who profiteers until finally the Brechtian idea of "first they came for 'x', you weren't concerned..." simply happened is a paranoiac, gloomy view of France during the war. A bit heavy-handed from the start, nevertheless is thrilling and keeps you wondering what is really happening till the end. Harder to follow than any Hitchcock or Christie, probably on purpose, as if to say: Life is not always so clear cut.
Lady Moreau and Francine Bergé could have had more "character development", while beautiful leggy Juliet Berto's long figure and erratic behaviour is all we can see from Bob's fiancé. Robert is cold, intelligent, self assured, able to answer like a French writer while his house is being requisitioned by the police. Lonsdale, from many Buñuel films, gives us the eerie feeling so necessary for this film to succeed. Jugnot and Aumont deliver in their smaller roles. Suzanne Flon, from "Un crime au paradis" among others, is convincing in her obfuscated part.
Gerry Fisher's cinematography and Egisto Macchi's score make this film stand apart, you've get the feeling of "really being there". In the grim and everyday aspects, not fictionalized for being palatable. mackjay from IMDb writes: "Klein's mixture of desperation and arrogance with so much conviction, it's easy to forget he is, after all, acting". C. Tashiro adds that the Nazi horrors are taken for granted, making them more real. Like J. L. Borges usually quipped: "There are no camels in the 1001 nights" meaning those involved don't notice what we, the viewers, probably would.
Franco Solinas's script conveys paranoia as faced by somebody who seems never to have suffered for anything, nor anybody for that matter.
Great film, but obviously, not "light viewing". Maybe a tad slow for nowadays's viewers.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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