In the House
Directed by François Ozon
Starring Fabrice Luchini, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ernst Umhauer
In French with English subtitles
Playing at Lincoln Plaza and Landmark Sunshine
The storyteller is in some ways a cursed sort, devoting his life to observing and conveying the actions of others.
All the world’s a stage to the protagonists of “In the House,” the new film from acclaimed French director François Ozon, in which a high school teacher (Fabrice Luchini) encourages his favorite pupil (Ernst Umhauer) to worm his way into a fellow student’s family, and to turn his manipulative efforts into a story in the form of essays.
“In the House” combines the classic stranger-upsetting-a-family-dynamic template with a self-reflexive exploration of the intersection of desire, voyeurism and imagination that informs the creation of a juicy narrative.
With varying tones and musical cues, a penchant for heated melodrama and a screenplay that folds into itself as the characters search for an appropriate ending to the story, the film straddles the precarious line between the pretentious and genuine.
On one level it’s too smart for its own good, but the evocation of the pains and struggles in storytelling resonates.