Title   Cast   Director   Year Shown  Other Info    Country  Notes 

France, 1989, 81 min

Shown in 1990


Patrice Leconte
Philippe Carcassonne, Rene Cleitman
Patrice Leconte, Patrick Dewolf
Denis Lenoir
Joelle Hache
Michel Blanc, Sandrine Bonnaire, Luc Thuillier, Andre Wilms


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Monsieur Hire

Dreamlike and mysterious, Monsieur Hire comes as a great and delightful surprise. Leconte is, after all, best known for his comedies (Tandem, SFIFF 1988), while his latest films takes us into a dark world of equivocal sexuality and ambiguous loyalties. [An effort he has called 'sensual… carnal, where you can almost feel the characters' skin.'] Filmed in Cinemascope, the characters seem oddly hemmed in; the colors are dark and in gloomy shades, with Hire himself so pale he seems to be a black-and-white character in a color film. Yet, all of this intensifies rather than oppresses. The plot comes from a novel by Simenon (adapted once before in Julien Duviviers' Panique, 1946): Alice is an ordinary young woman who works as a waitress. She lives in the same building as Hire, an enigmatic tailor who lives alone and is without friends or need of them. He seems sinister, but oddly sympathetic, even when we discover he spends every free moment spying on Alice (Sandrine Bonnaire) across the courtyard. He has seen something malevolent and soon he and Alice are involved in puzzling sexual games. Place is left ambiguous, as is the time of the story… Even props and decor are left ambiguously timeless. Monsieur Hire is a disturbing film, and it is a very fine one.

—Piers Handling, Toronto Festival of Festivals