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Paris, 1942. Robert Klein cannot find any fault with the state of affairs in German-occupied France. He has a well-furnished flat, a mistress, and business is booming. Jews facing discrimination because of laws edicted by the French government are desperate to sell valuable works of art - and it is easy for him to get them at bargain prices. His cosy life is disrupted when he realizes that there is another Robert Klein in Paris - a Jew with a rather mysterious behaviour. Very soon, this homonymy attracts the close - and menacing - attention of the police on the established art trader. Written by
Eduardo Casais <email@example.com>
By far the most popular kind of film produced in 70s France was the policier, in which dogged detectives and po-faced policemen plodded through dour crime narratives after charismatic criminals. Generally reactionary, many featured Alain Delon, along with Jean-Paul Belmondo, France's biggest star.
MONSIEUR KLEIN is a very different Delon policier. Set in Occupied Paris, its police are Gestapo stooges doggedly and po-facedly seeking out phoney Frenchmen, with one of whom Klein, Catholic, collaborationist-befriending, art-dealing war-profiteer, seems to be confused, with inevitable consequences.
Losey's nausea-inducing camerawork, his use of ugly colour and shadows which literally swallows up the brightest of film-stars, the recreation of Nazi France, the playing with ideas of play, the combining of exciting thriller with Borges and Kafka, makes this one of the best films of the 70s.
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