Monsieur Joseph is a respected citizen of a small town in the North of France. For over four decades he has run a specialized bookshop in the shopping square of the town. Every morning ...
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Monsieur Joseph is a respected citizen of a small town in the North of France. For over four decades he has run a specialized bookshop in the shopping square of the town. Every morning before opening his shop, he has a nice cup of black coffee at the local cafe where he has a nice small talk with Julien, the barkeeper, and with the regulars. Everybody likes him. At least everybody did... Everything actually started to change the night his young wife Tina disappeared without trace. Now, Monsieur Joseph has become Youssef again, he is again the "foreigner" (wasn't he born of Kabyle parents?), the shady foreigner, the frightening foreigner... He can't but have murdered his wife, all the more as another woman was killed four years before without the culprit having been arrested. There is no smoke without fire, is there?...Written by
This is a simple story of a respected specialized bookseller, the Algerian-born Monsieur Joseph, who has worked hard over more than 40 years to integrate well in his community. Nothing demarcates him from his neighbours and other shop owners in the market square until, one day, his much younger wife does not come back from one of her escapades with another man (Monsieur Joseph accepts these).
Suspicion builds up for several days over her fate and all eyes suddenly turn on this man everyone thought they knew. This is the classical story of how, when one's neighbour is found guilty of something horrible, all those around who freely and willingly befriended him, suddenly have stories to tell about how how they "knew" something was wrong. Except here, no one knows but Monsieur Joseph's life is turned upside down when the rumours set in and everybody jumps to conclusions. His entire community turns against him, no longer seeing him as one of them but as an untrustworthy foreigner. He gradually descends into a living hell. It does not end well.
This is an under-stated movie, with few words, sober decor, and fine acting by the only main character, played by Daniel Prévost. He deservedly won some accolades for this role. And the movie is well worth watching, if only because it is a story that's all too familiar.
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