L’Affaire Marcorelle

The Marcorelle Affair begins with a twist, a nightmare episode at the cinema that marks this film out as the work of a card-carrying cineaste. Director Serge Le Peron is a former Cahiers du cinema critic, and the title is a tribute to one of that magazine’s early alumni. But this is not just a movie-buff’s private pleasure. Le Peron’s playful, defiantly tricksy film is an intelligent entertainment that contrives to wrong-foot the viewer from start to finish. Jean-Pierre Leaud is prosecutor Francois Marcorelle, whose troubles begin when he meets the beautiful waitress from his favourite Polish restaurant, and ends up killing a man. Unless, of course, it’s another of the bizarre nightmares that he can’t shake off. But, true or false, his eager young legal nemesis (Mathieu Amalric) is keeping a close eye on him. The film’s star attraction is the legendary Leaud, playing a social insider for once rather than his usual marginal types, but even so displaying a magnificent range of flamboyant neuroses that makes this his most compelling performance in years. And former Kieslowski star Irene Jacob, not usually known for comedy roles, rises to the occasion with brio.

France, 2000.
English subtitles.
Dolby stereo SR.
94 min.

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