Winner of the Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at this year’s Venice Film Festival, Christian Vincent’s dryly comic courtroom drama was selected as the opening film for the 44th Hong Kong French Cinepanorama on 18 November.
There’s a dark, gallows-humour that runs through François Ozon’s In The House, a somewhat creepy, bookish, but engaging coming-of-age drama. Germain (Fabrice Luchini) is a high-school literature teacher who takes an interest in the somewhat lurid, autobiographical writing of Claude Garcia (Ernst Umhauer) a student.
Garcia uses a creative writing assignment to open a window into the voyeuristic fascination he has with what he sees as the perfect family. Having observed them from afar over the summer he befriends their naive son Rapha Artole and soon develops an infatuation with Rapha’s bored mother Esther (Emmanuelle Seigner).
Germain tutors Garcia, encouraging his writing while also, emboldening the young man in his explorations of the Artole household. The young writers’ work also becomes a talking point between Germain and his wife Jeanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) a struggling gallery manager.
In The House takes some surprising turns and despite the high-brow literary references and occasional post-modern flourishes, makes for some very accessible and thought-provovking farce.