Film Review: Mon Crime, Directed by François Ozon

Film Review: Mon Crime, Directed by François Ozon
François Ozon’s delectable bonbon of a film shows its ironic hand right from the title. Mon Crime (literally “my crime”) evokes how the characters take a proprietary attitude to a felony, in this case murder, as if it were a jewel. In this quasi-farce (based on a play by Georges Berr and Louis Verneuil), a struggling young actress confesses to a crime she didn’t commit (killing an impresario who’d tried to have his way with her) with an eye towards boosting her career, and later an over-the-hill silent-movie star (who apparently did do the crime) wants to take belated credit, in order to stage a comeback. Then there’s the investigating magistrate who wants to keep the original verdict, which was a sensational demonstration of his crime-busting abilities (even if the young actress was ultimately acquitted). Mon Crime. © Gaumont There are complications, and an uplifting but ironic end. This sort of farcical mock-melodrama is characteristic of the popular fare in Paris’ “boulevard” theaters, where an often older public goes in for an evening of light (sometimes silly) entertainment featuring long-in-the-tooth performers. (Boulevard refers to the “grands boulevards” where the theaters are located, and came to denominate the broad comedies usually featured there) Mon Crime. © Gaumont The cast of Mon Crime is a mix of old and young. Madeleine Verdier (Nadia Tereszkiewicz), the actress, shares a dumpy apartment with Pauline Mauléon (Rebecca Marder), a fledgling lawyer. Ms.  Tereszkiewicz and Ms Marder are not only playing their characters, but in a sense also playing the ingénues who played such characters in the boulevard theaters. They’re both attractive and charming, but somewhat similar in their physical appearance. When they’re not doing their respective schticks (actress-turned-defendant, defense counsel) they can be hard to tell apart. Mon Crime. © Gaumont Our two heroines are surrounded by more familiar names. The always wonderful Fabrice Luchini plays Gustave Rabusset, the investigating magistrate. Isabelle Huppert exuberantly plays the washed-up star, Odette Chaumette. Best of all, Dany Boon gives a brilliant performance as Palmarède, a businessman from Marseille, with a perfect mastery of the Midi accent. Boon is one of a number of French-Jewish comics who’ve made of film and TV a virtual Borscht Belt, bringing a humane earthiness sometimes lacking in French comedy. He’s not the clown in Mon Crime, but he is the movie’s heart. Ozon excels at ensemble pictures, as he showed in his hit 8 Femmes; so he not only brings out the particular talents of his actors, but also the chemistry produced by their interactions.

Lead photo credit : © Gaumont

More in comedy, Dany Boon, Dimitri Keramitas, Drama, Fabrice Luchini, film, film review, FOZ, François Ozon, Gaumont, isabelle huppert, Mandarin Cinéma, Mon Crime, Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Rebecca Marder, Scope Pictures

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Dimitri Keramitas was born and raised in Connecticut, USA, and was educated at the University of Hartford, Sorbonne, and the University of London, and holds degrees in literature and law. He has lived in Paris for years, and directs a training company and translation agency. In addition, he has worked as a film critic for both print and on-line publications, including Bonjour Paris and France Today. He is a contributing editor to Movies in American History. In addition he is an award-winning writer of fiction, whose stories have been published in many literary journals. He is the director of the creative writing program at WICE, a Paris-based organization. He is also a director at the Paris Alumni Network, an organization linking together several hundred professionals, and is the editor of its newletter. The father of two children, Dimitri not only enjoys Paris living but returning to the US regularly and traveling in Europe and elsewhere.