The Clockmaker of St. Paul
- 1h 45m
A Watchmaker finds out one day that his son has become a murderer. He tries to understand for whom and why.A Watchmaker finds out one day that his son has become a murderer. He tries to understand for whom and why.A Watchmaker finds out one day that his son has become a murderer. He tries to understand for whom and why.
Molinaro's "la mort de Belle" and Henry Decoin's "les inconnus dans la maison"have a lot in common with "l'horloger de Saint-Paul;all these works deal with incommunicability,between people of the same family.For instance,in "les inconnus dans la maison" ,a fallen alcoholic lawyer does not care about his daughter anymore and one day very bad things happen;in "la mort de Belle" a high school teacher sees his life torn apart when he's a suspect when a young girl dies and even his wife who thinks she knows him well has her doubts .
Tavernier's first movie was not that much innovative -as works to come would be- as derivative.However ,it's a very commendable work,because of Philippe Noiret's sensational portrayal of a peaceful man ,who is confronted with tragedy when his son kills a b.... .Tavernier's science of pacing a movie already shines:the son only appears in the last quarter of the movie and during at least 15 minutes,the only words he says to dad are "bonjour papa" ;little by little,we feel that father and son stand together ,but they do not try to strike back ,to find alibis ,to avoid the punishment.In a grand gesture,Tavernier does not even film the trial!A terse comment lets us know about the sentence.The characters -the father ,the son and even the girlfriend (Christine Pascal)the b... raped - remain opaque,their motives remain obscure Liliane ,the son's lover has not a single line to say.We will never know why the son and the father were estranged -the scene with the boy's old nanny remains vague.During the last scenes looks matter more than words and when they start talking again,the son concludes: -and what a place(a noisy visiting room) for the first conversation in years!- "we can hear ourselves if we really want to!" Unlike Tavernier's follow-up "le juge et l'assassin" which was Tavernier's first perfect work,"l'horloger de Saint-Paul' does not avoid some post-68 clichés that were poisoning the French cinema of the seventies:the bedroom full of "revolutionary " posters,the bad cops-the conversation with detective Jean Rochefort in the train- ,the all-things -political which the hero fortunately refuse .
It's minor quibble.Considering all the important movies Tavernier would produce in the wake of 'l'horloger" ,it's almost even irrelevant.No other director has shown so many qualities in the last thirty years.
- Mar 12, 2005