Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Scene of the Crime|
Actor: Catherine Deneuve
Director: André Téchiné
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Scene of the Crime
Lee, Ti-tsai | Taipei, Taiwan | 01/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In comparison with his later but more mature films, Techine's "Scene of the Crime" is more like a practice piece in the mode of Claude Chabrol. Like "Wild Reeds", "My Favorite Season", and "Strayed", this thriller is set in rural France, the supposedly ideal landscape for impressionist paintings. However, underneath its idyllic and serene exterior lies genuinely shocking but not entirely suspenseful undercurrents intricately interweaving Lili ( played by Catherine Deneuve, the ever gorgeous and increasingly resourceful actress as she is aging ), Martin ( played by one of Techine's regulars in the 80s, the moody actor Wadeck Stanczak, whose portrayal of an escaped criminal is too predictably sentimental and unbelievably one-sided ), Alice ( played by Claire Nebout, whose feral facade and wild gesture is indelibly sensual but whose threesome relaionship with Martin and his accomplice, another escaped prisoner whom Martin accidentlly killed during their brawl over Thomas, is unconvincingly pathological ), Thomas ( Lili's son, played marvelously by newcomer, Nicholas Giraudi),Lili's mother ( played by the legendary Danielle Darrieux, whose stunning "Madame" in Max Ophuls' " Madame de...." is one of the highlights in her long career) , Lili's ex-husband, Maurice ( his projecting of home movie on the wall or on Lili looks contrived ), and Lili's old dad ( Jean Bousquet).
The screenplay was written by Techine, along with another two important figures in French cinema after the New Wave, Pascal Bonitzer and Oliver Assayas. Under these cineastes' influence, the movie is replete with noir allusions ( Ms. Deneuve plays a bar owner, which is a strong echo of noir classic "Mildred Pierce") and a parady of or a play on noir conventions ( the mother-daughter rivalry is turned to son-father competition for mother's attention ). Martin, the initial threat to the stability of the family, is eventually the only one who can loosen the close bond between Lili and her son. Another potential savior, father Sorbier, turns out to be a barrier to better understanding of these people, in particular, Thomas and his friends and family.
The whole film captures some level of complexities in human psychology and absurdities in human condition, but overall, it is paled by psycho-thrillers of Chabrol at his best and Ozon's suspense-thriller gems steeped in wacky queerness, let alone Hitchcock's masterpieces, like " Vertigo", "The Birds",and " The Rear Window". Judging from Techine's later films, his universe is revealed to be full of profound observations of human psyches, such as " Alice and Martin", as well as tinged with a "juicy", self-reflexive, reflective and most importantly, honest gaze at exoticism and racial fetishism, prominently in films like " Changing Times", and "The Witnesses". Watching this film made by Techine in 1986, I gladly find that he is maturing wisely and sincerely as he is advancing in years!"