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In the House Movie Review

Title: In the House

Director: François Ozon

Starring: Ernst Umhauer, Fabrice Luchini, Kristen Scott Thomas, Bastien Ughetto, Emmanuelle Seigner and Denis Ménochet.

François Ozon was inspired by Juan Mayorga’s play ‘The Boy in the Last Row,’  for his last film ‘In the House,’ which was awarded the main prize at the 2012 San Sebastián International Film Festival, the Golden Shell, as well as the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay.

The middle-aged Germaine (Fabrice Luchini) is a literature teacher at the French High School Flaubert, while his wife Jeanne (Kristen Scott Thomas) works at a gallery, proposing the new trends of the contemporary art world. Germaine has never succeeded as a writer, and is frustrated by the students who show no talent or sign of interest in what he teaches, all except one: Claude (Ernst Umhauer). This sixteen-year old boy insinuates himself into the house of his fellow student Rapha (Bastien Ughetto) and writes about his family, in essays for his French teacher. Faced with this gifted and unusual pupil, Germaine rediscovers his enthusiasm for his work, but the boy’s intrusion will unleash a series of uncontrollable events, leading to an eerie and exciting adventure through the making of storytelling.

François Ozon uses the relationship between Germain and Claude, to portray the manipulation of the author towards the reader. Ozon has declared this is supposed to mirror the dilemma of the producer’s influence on the director, placing the audience in the labyrinthine artistic process. Technically there are palpable references to other great masters of the film-industry such as Chabrol, Buñuel, Rohmer and Haneke. Whilst the cast plays majestically with remarkable understatement: Ernst Umhauer embodies a magnetic and creepy charm, Fabrice Luchini has the perfect melancholic and distressed flair, just as Kristen Scott Thomas is zany and witty.

Ozon, once again has proved to be able to weld irony and morbidity, social satire and paradox, suspense and likelihood. Just as he did in ‘8 Women’ and ‘Potiche,’ he enjoys the dissection of the bourgeoisie and just as the Italian playwright Pirandello did, with his ‘The Rules  of the Game’ and ‘Six Characters in Search of an Author,’ Ozon focuses on the masks of society blended with circumstances of metatheatre.

Technical: A

Acting: A+

Story: A+

Overall: A+

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

In the House Movie Review

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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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