A doctor's office.A woman stands here in the nude.He's no longer a doctor but a vet,examining the scared patient as if she's a cow."She might belong to those inferior races.A dubious case."He mumbles to his nurse.
"Monsieur Klein" is rarely mentioned when they praise Joseph Losey.It could be his finest achievement ,the success of a work fascinated by decay,from "the gypsy and the gentleman" to "the servant".
Like the heroes of the two mentioned works,when the movie begins,Monsieur Klein (Alain Delon,whose performance is memorable,anyway it's his last great part)is a bon vivant.A bourgeois vulture who buys paintings and other works of art for next to nothing from the Jews during the Occupation in France.One day,he receives a news paper called "les informations juives".Thus he discovers he's got a namesake.At first puzzled,Klein becomes more and more involved in a search of this man ,his doppelganger,his twin,who plays cat and mouse with him.Both realist and dreamlike,not to say nightmarish,à la Kafka,and metaphysical,à la Borges ,as the precedent user wrote,Klein's quest is both mad and logical,absurd and passionate.A sublime sequence shows Delon in a crowded café :a waiter 's calling "Monsieur Klein";first he does not care because he knows "they " call the "other",but finally,he asks the waiter who tells him that the person who called "Monsieur Klein" looked just like him.Then the baffled Delon sees his reflection in a mirror.
In 1942,in Paris ,there are ominous plans.In the desert streets ,in the small early hours,French gendarmes silently move ,as if they are rehearsing for something better left unsaid.The color movie almost turns black and white in a riveting cinematographic tour de force.
Robert Klein becomes like Lewis Caroll's Alice in the well.He could avoid the fall,but he will not.His world,now that he's a suspect for the police,is collapsing.It's his turn to sell his valuable properties for a song.
In the vel' d'hiv' (winter velodrome),the roundup of Jews had begun.Klein could escape,because his lawyer found the papers that proved that "he 's got no Jewish blood in his veins",but he would like to know this other himself and he would follow him even if it were into hell.It was indeed,as the train slowly moves off,heading for the concentration camps.
A first-class work,"Monsieur Klein" leaves the audience numb and ill-at-ease.A topflight supporting cast (Suzanne Flon,Jean Bouise,Michel Lonsdale,Jeanne Moreau) shines.
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