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MR. KLEIN

Wednesday, April 24
8:30

Wednesday, May 1
12:50

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France/Italy, 1976
Directed by Joseph Losey
With Alain Delon, Jeanne Moreau, Michael Lonsdale
In French with English subtitles
Approx. 123 min. DCP restoration.


“This has nothing to do with me.” 1942, and in Occupied Paris, Alain Delon’s Catholic Klein seems to be sitting pretty. An attractive mistress, an apartment crammed full of expensive paintings, sculpture, tapestries — and mirrors — most of which he’s bought at fire sale prices from Jews eager to emigrate/flee. But then he finds a Jewish newspaper delivered to his doorstep, and the protests and desperate search for his Aryan heritage begins, so desperate that his attempts to establish his identity start to come second to a frenzied search for his doppelganger, a search that comes to an unforeseen, but perhaps inevitable end.

MR. KLEIN was blacklisted American director Losey’s first film in French, with a screenplay by BATTLE OF ALGIERS writer Franco Solinas and assistant director Fernando Morandi, and an uncredited Costa-Gavras (who was originally to direct).

An indictment of French complicity on the eve of the infamous Vélodrome d’Hiver roundup, with Claude Levy (one of the chief interviewees in Marcel Ophüls’ THE SORROW AND THE PITY) as historical consultant, MR. KLEIN was received coldly by French audiences, who objected to its depiction of wartime collaboration. Yet it still went on to represent France for the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or and would win three Césars (French Oscars) for Best Film, Director, and Production Design by the legendary Alexandre Trauner, whose remarkable credits include everything from Marcel Carné’s CHILDREN OF PARADISE and Jules Dassin’s RIFIFI to Orson Welles’ OTHELLO and Billy Wilder’s THE APARTMENT.

Trailer

MR. KLEIN

Part of DELON

Reviews

“MR. KLEIN had its première in 1976, at Cannes, and came out in America the following year. Since then, it has proved hard to catch on the big screen. Now it is back and showing for two weeks at Film Forum. For hunters of rarities and students of wartime oppression, the emergence of MR. KLEIN will be an event to match that of another fierce appraisal of Occupied France, Jean-Pierre Melville’s ARMY OF SHADOWS, which finally arrived on American screens in 2006, thirty-seven years after it was made. All good films come to those who wait."
– Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“A slow-burning French thriller... Suffused not only with history, but also with echoes of Kafka, Dostoyevsky and the clipped paranoia of Losey’s collaborations with Harold Pinter.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“Seductive… splendidly visual.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“VERY COOL, VERY FRIGHTENING AND BEAUTIFULLY CONTROLLED.”
– David Thomson

“One of Losey’s most personal, cerebral and arresting works.”
– David Robinson

“Yes, it played off Losey’s acquired paranoia from the McCarthy days, but it drew upon his knowledge of Paris, too… I’m still not quite sure how far the French accept this as a French film — it has insidious things to say about the bonhomie of collaboration. But the journey of Losey, from THE PROWLER through THE SERVANT  to this Paris, is quite remarkable. And Delon’s Klein, numb but deeply intelligent, cut off from society by some masquerade but then through the discovery of alienation itself, is extraordinary… It is a film of frozen, listless faces, the perfect currency of occupation.”
– David Thomson

Film Forum