© Weltkino Filmverleih

Mein fabelhaftes Verbrechen (The Crime Is Mine, Mon crime)
France 2023

Opening 6 Jul 2023

Directed by: François Ozon
Writing credits: François Ozon, Philippe Piazzo, Georges Berr, Louis Verneuil
Principal actors: Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Rebecca Marder, Isabelle Huppert, Fabrice Luchini, Dany Boon

French writer-director François Ozon’s quirky caper is grounded in the past based on impressions, generalities, misconceptions and, ah, history, given some latitude. It’s the 1930s and young, desperate Madeleine (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) is in love with the idea of being rich, famous, and an actress. Is she not beautiful and talented? Wee… ask her. When the result of her interview with an aging famous, libidinous producer (Jean-Christophe Bouvet) is pronounced a murder, the investigating magistrate (Fabrice Luchini) comes knocking.

Madeleine’s best friend and roommate Pauline (Rebecca Marder) is, luckily, also an out-of-work attorney with a fluid imagination; she has a plan. With the utmost finesse Pauline convinces Madeleine to turn herself in. While Madeleine is confined, she is comforted by a bastion of wealthy—in one way or another—men: petit ami André (Édouard Sulpice), André’s père (André Dussollier), and the bon viveur Palmarède (Dany Boon), architect par excellence. Alors, the trial is Madeleine’s making! Fame et cetera devour the two young women’s lives. Whereas the silent pictures star, sultry Odette Chaumette (Isabelle Huppert) now relegated to paltry parts, wants her just dues.

Ozon’s Mon Crime is loosely adapted from Georges Berr and Louis Verneuil’s 1934 French play, The Crime is Mine, and its follow-up American movie with Carole Lombard, True Confession. He pays homage to different filmmakers—Ernst Lubitsch in the stylized Parisian interpretation, and Billy Wilder’s screwball comedies. The cast is having fun; switching Tereszkiewicz and Marder’s roles would have added sparkle. Some critics are touting Ozone’s #MeToo nod, but in reality, it is Huppert’s twist to her Odette character that sets the bar higher for sisterhood empowerment. Cinematographer Manuel Dacosse’s nimble span of shots/lighting challenges are enhanced by Laure Gardette’s editing, and composer Philippe Rombi, reteaming with Ozon (In the House, 2012; Swimming Pool, 2003). Despite the murky bits in the storyline, and the not-so-red herrings, Ozone’s film delivers an entertaining respite. (Marinell Haegelin)

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