|Genealogy of a Crime 1997|
GENEALOGY OF A CRIME (GENEALOGIE D’UN CRIME)
Directed by Raoul Ruiz
Catherine Deneuve is one of Ms. Hen’s favorite actresses. Every film in which she appears, she commands attention. She has been the grande dame of French cinema for over forty years, and she is always brilliant to watch.
In GENEALOGY OF A CRIME, Deneuve plays two characters: a lawyer, Solange, who only takes on hopeless cases which she always loses; and the aunt of the man she’s representing, Jeanne, a psychoanalyst who toys with her nephew and makes him believe he is destined to become a killer.
Turn the film one way, and it is a comic farce. Turn it another way, and it is a stylistic film with bizarre angles and blurred camera work. Many mirrors and reflections grace the film, most likely because the world looks different and backwards in a mirror, but then the camera turns away and the real scene is shown.
The film is filled with quirky characters, not all of whom Ms. Hen liked. There is Solange’s mother who torments her daughter and incessantly criticizes her; the psychoanalyst Georges Didier, who mocks Solange and always brushes off his shoulders; the unstable accused murderer, Pascal, who plays mental games with Solange.
Ms. Hen gets excited when hens or chickens are mentioned in films or books. In this film, the mother has a therapy session and she tells the doctor about her dream, “I saw her standing there, and totally unconsciously, I cut her up. I say, it’s only a hen, it’ll need a lot of boiling. Then she arrives, her or her double, and says ‘Sorry I’m late mum, what have you got me for dinner?’ (The doctor) She says, what have you got me for dinner? That’s right. (The doctor) Continue. Then she rushes at her body, that I’ve just carved up, and swallows it raw.”
Another strange character in the film is Georges’ rival, Christian, who believes that people all live in stories. He fanatically expresses that every story is told over and over again throughout everyone’s lives. He is in the process of building a museum to the genealogy of crime, so people will know the stories throughout history. Solange, intrigued by this, doesn’t understand her own story until the end.
The beauty of this film is in the surprises. Ms. Hen did not see the ending coming. This is a film that makes a viewer think, which Ms. Hen doesn’t mind because she likes learning and trying to figure things out. Sometimes she can figure out an ending, but a good film will shock her, like this one, and she enjoys that as much as she enjoys walking free on a farm, clucking her little heart out.