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The Color of Lies (1999)

Au coeur du mensonge (original title)
In a small Breton town, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered. René, her art teacher, a professional painter, is the last person to have seen her alive. The inspector in charge of the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vivianne Sterne
...
René Sterne
Antoine de Caunes ...
Germain-Roland Desmot (as Antoine De Caunes)
...
Frédérique Lesage
Bernard Verley ...
Inspecteur Loudun
Bulle Ogier ...
Évelyne Bordier
Pierre Martot ...
Regis Marchal
Noël Simsolo ...
Monsieur Bordier
Rodolphe Pauly ...
Victor
Adrienne Pauly ...
Anna
Véronique Volta ...
Betty
Sylvie Flepp ...
Madame Lemoine
Florent Gibassier ...
Joël Sarne
Thomas Chabrol ...
Le médecin légiste
Wendy Malpeli ...
Eloïse Michel
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Storyline

In a small Breton town, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered. René, her art teacher, a professional painter, is the last person to have seen her alive. The inspector in charge of the investigation immediately questions him. In this small provincial town where people all know each other and regularly meet at the Bar des Amis, René is increasingly unsettled by the other inhabitants' suspicions and by the inspector's investigation. Children stop coming to him for lessons. His wife, Viviane, a district nurse, protects him and supports him with her love. However, a self-centred media-star writer adds to René's confusion... Written by Anonymous

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Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

13 January 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Color of Lies  »

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| (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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For those who like this sort of thing
16 July 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

In this and some other of Claude Chabrol's movies, it is as though he sets out to defy himself and his audience to feel any emotion. The pace is even; characters rarely raise their voices or lose their tempers; there is no on-screen violence; and the sex is minimal and decorous. The colour is carefully orchestrated, with cool blue predominating; and though the film is set by the sea, this is not the warm, seductive Mediterranean, but the cold, off-putting Atlantic; when the weather deteriorates, there are no violent storms, simply thick fog.

Though superficially a drama about the rape and murder of a young girl, the real subject of the film is deceit and lying. From the trompe l'oeil paintings of the main suspect René Sterne (Jacques Gamblin), through marriage infidelity, to the smug hypocrisy of TV celebrity G-R Desmot (Antoine de Caunes), all is a sham. Nor does Chabrol shy away from reminding us that the film medium itself is based on illusion - a character reassures another "that's the sort of thing you only see in movies".

But for all the movie's careful construction, and despite my trying hard to suspend disbelief, some elements of the film remained deeply unconvincing and even ludicrous. In particular, I found it impossible to accept Valeria Bruni Tedeschi as a police chief with an ultra-mild demeanour and a penchant for pink knitwear. Also, the film ended so abruptly that I for one missed any final point made by Chabrol. Nevertheless, there may be viewers more discerning than I who will find more value in this movie.


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