Monsieur Klein

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Monsieur Klein
Monsieur Klein film.jpg
US Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Losey
Produced byAlain Delon
Written byFranco Solinas
Fernando Morandi
StarringAlain Delon
Jeanne Moreau
Francine Bergé
Juliet Berto
Jean Bouise
Suzanne Flon
Music byEgisto Macchi
Pierre Porte
CinematographyGerry Fisher
Edited byMarie Castro-Vasquez
Henri Lanoë
Michèle Neny
Release date
27 October 1976 (France)
Running time
123 min
CountryFrance
LanguageFrench
Budget$3,500,000
Box office711,752 admissions (France)[1]

Monsieur Klein (Mr. Klein) is a 1976 French film directed by Joseph Losey, with Alain Delon starring in the title role.

Synopsis[edit]

Paris, January 1942. France is occupied by the Nazis. Robert Klein, apparently apolitical, is a well-to-do art dealer, Roman Catholic and Alsatian by birth, who takes advantage of French Jews who need to sell artworks to raise cash to leave the country. One day, the local Jewish newspaper, addressed to him, is delivered to his home. He learns that another Robert Klein who has been living in Paris, a Jew sought by the police, has had his mail forwarded to him in an apparent attempt to destroy his social reputation and make him a target of official anti-Semitism. He reports this to the police who remain suspicious that he may be reporting this scheme to disguise his own true identity. His own investigations lead him in contradictory directions, to Klein who lives in a slum while having an affair with his concierge and to Klein who visits a palatial country estate where he has seduced an apparently Jewish married woman. When the art dealer cannot locate the other Klein, authorities require him to offer proof of his French non-Jewish ancestry. While waiting for the documentation to arrive, he struggles to track down his namesake and learn his motivation. Before he can resolve the situation by either means, he is caught up in the July 1942 roundup of Parisian Jews. He is reunited with Jews who once were his clients as they board boxcars for Auschwitz.

The film offers no clear resolution of its contradictory evidence and blind alleys. According to Vincent Canby, the filmmakers "are not as interested in the workings of the plot as in matters of identity and obsession".[2]

Cast[edit]

Symbolism and allusions[edit]

Although Losey integrates historical elements (such as the infamous Vel' d'Hiv Roundup) into the film, it is more than a reconstruction of the life and status of the Jews under the Vichy regime.[3]

The relationship of the film with the works of the writer Franz Kafka has often been noted, for example: The Metamorphosis, telling of the brutal and sudden transformation of a man into an insect; The Castle, which describes a search for one's own identity by way of getting to know "the other"; The Trial, which sees an accused man become an outlaw of society.[citation needed]

Reception[edit]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times who saw the film at the 68th Street Playhouse in 1977, had criticized the role of Alain Delon as Mr. Klein, saying that [he] is neither interesting nor mysterious enough to hold a film together.[4]

Awards[edit]

The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival[5] but lost to Taxi Driver. However, Monsieur Klein did win the César Award for Best Film while Losey won the César Award for Best Director.[6] Alexandre Trauner won the César Award for Best Production Design,[7] Alain Delon got César Award for Best Actor,[8] and in addition the film was nominated for Césars in three other categories.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (November 7, 1977). "Cool, Elegant 'Mr. Klein' is a Metaphorical Movie" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  3. ^ "DVD of the Week: Joseph Losey's "Mr. Klein"". The New Yorker.
  4. ^ Canby, Vincent (November 7, 1977). "Cool, Elegant 'Mr. Klein' Is a Metaphorical Movie". The New York Times. p. 44.
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Monsieur Klein". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved March 12, 2019.
  6. ^ Reimer, Robert Charles; Reimer, Carol J. (2012). Historical Dictionary of Holocaust Cinema. Scarecrow Press. p. xx. ISBN 0810867567.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  7. ^ Rémi Fournier Lanzoni (2015) [2002]. French Cinema: From Its Beginnings to the Present. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 257. ISBN 1501303090.
  8. ^ "Alain Delon – Gentleman of Style". Gentleman's Gazette. July 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Awards for Monsieur Klein". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 12, 2019.

External links[edit]