Genealogies of a Crime

Overview

Raul Ruiz directed this typically eccentric look at the nature of crime, the human mind, and life in the modern world. Solange Catherine Deneuve is a defense attorney with a reputation for taking on cases that can't be won -- and proving it by losing them. Her latest lost cause is Rene Melvil Poupaud, a young man on trial for murdering his Aunt Jeanne also played by Deneuve, a cruel psychiatrist who raised him as a child and was convinced from infancy that he was destined for a life of crime. While Rene would ...
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Overview

Raul Ruiz directed this typically eccentric look at the nature of crime, the human mind, and life in the modern world. Solange Catherine Deneuve is a defense attorney with a reputation for taking on cases that can't be won -- and proving it by losing them. Her latest lost cause is Rene Melvil Poupaud, a young man on trial for murdering his Aunt Jeanne also played by Deneuve, a cruel psychiatrist who raised him as a child and was convinced from infancy that he was destined for a life of crime. While Rene would seemingly need a good lawyer in his situation, he prefers instead to play games with Solange's mind and finds unlikely allies in a strange society of French and Belgian psychologists, headed by Georges Michel Piccoli, who seems crazier than anyone he's treating. Solange, however, finds herself falling in love with Rene, which only makes a difficult situation more unpleasant for everyone. Through a series of layered flashbacks, we're shown Rene's crime several times from a number of perspectives, which ultimately makes his actions seem more vague with each repetition.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Drawing from an actual incident, artistically audacious director Raúl Ruiz and writer Pascal Bonitzer turn a story of psychoanalysis gone awry into a labyrinthine psychological mystery in Genealogies of a Crime. Weaving together flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, multiple renditions of the alleged crime of le monstre, and surreal, voyeuristic compositions, Ruiz skewers psychoanalysis' excesses in a narrative mind-bender that takes on such heady topics as nature vs. nurture, repetition-compulsion, and the nature of certainty. The dueling psychoanalytic societies provide moments of black comedy, with Michel Piccoli's certifiably insane Georges as the ultimate dark joke. The flashback structure trickily melds Catherine Deneuve's two identities as Rene's lawyer and the embodied memory of the victim, suggesting that she may indeed be Rene's karmic punishment. Yet there's still the matter of that little girl holding a cat and a knife. Though some critics were put off by Ruiz's pretensions, others deemed Genealogies of a Crime a beautifully shot and acted intellectual game, with Deneuve channeling an eerie psychosis reminiscent of her work with Roman Polanski and Luis Buñuel.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/23/2000
  • UPC: 712267980833
  • Original Release: 1997
  • Rating:

  • Source: Strand Home Video
  • Presentation: Subtitled
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Catherine Deneuve Solange
Michel Piccoli Georges Didier
Melvil Poupaud Rene
Andrzej Seweryn Christian
Bernadette Lafont Esther
Monique Melinaud Louise
Hubert Saint-Macary Verret
Technical Credits
Raúl Ruiz Director, Screenwriter
Jorge Arriagada Songwriter
Pascal Bonitzer Screenwriter
Paulo Branco Producer
Luc Chalon Production Designer
Stephan Ivanov Cinematographer
Henri Maikoff Sound/Sound Designer
Valeria Sarmiento Editor
Elisabeth Tavernier Costumes/Costume Designer
Solange Zeitoun Production Designer
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