1991-2000ArthouseCrimeFranceRaoul Ruiz

Raoul Ruiz – Généalogies d’un crime AKA Genealogies of a Crime (1997)


Drawing from an actual incident, artistically audacious director Raoul Ruiz and writer Pascal Bonitzer turn a story of psychoanalysis gone awry into a labyrinthine psychological mystery in Genealogies of a Crime. Weaving together flashbacks, flashbacks within flashbacks, multiple renditions of the alleged crime of le monstre, and surreal, voyeuristic compositions, Ruiz skewers psychoanalysis’ excesses in a narrative mind-bender that takes on such heady topics as nature vs. nurture, repetition-compulsion, and the nature of certainty. The dueling psychoanalytic societies provide moments of black comedy, with Michel Piccoli’s certifiably insane Georges as the ultimate dark joke. The flashback structure trickily melds Catherine Deneuve’s two identities as Rene’s lawyer and the embodied memory of the victim, suggesting that she may indeed be Rene’s karmic punishment. Yet there’s still the matter of that little girl holding a cat and a knife. Though some critics were put off by Ruiz’s pretensions, others deemed Genealogies of a Crime a beautifully shot and acted intellectual game, with Deneuve channeling an eerie psychosis reminiscent of her work with Roman Polanski and Luis Buñuel. — Lucia Bozzola, All Movie Guide



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