19 July 2000 | alice liddell
Losey's best film since THE SERVANT.
By far the most popular kind of film produced in 70s France was the policier, in which dogged detectives and po-faced policemen plodded through dour crime narratives after charismatic criminals. Generally reactionary, many featured Alain Delon, along with Jean-Paul Belmondo, France's biggest star.
MONSIEUR KLEIN is a very different Delon policier. Set in Occupied Paris, its police are Gestapo stooges doggedly and po-facedly seeking out phoney Frenchmen, with one of whom Klein, Catholic, collaborationist-befriending, art-dealing war-profiteer, seems to be confused, with inevitable consequences.
Losey's nausea-inducing camerawork, his use of ugly colour and shadows which literally swallows up the brightest of film-stars, the recreation of Nazi France, the playing with ideas of play, the combining of exciting thriller with Borges and Kafka, makes this one of the best films of the 70s.