In the House Screen 10 articles

In the House


In the House Poster
  • Though sprightly and urbane, In The House nonetheless indulges in the misanthropic, classbaiting excesses of Ozon’s early work, but does so from behind the barricades of its concentric literary dimensions. By the time the worlds of fiction and reality begin to collide and the inevitable Frankenstein’s Monster angle comes into play, the film spirals out of control and squirms its way to a trite and unsatisfactory conclusion.

  • Characters seem less entrapped by their desires than by plot necessities—a fact that’s not redeemed by Ozon’s winking self-awareness. It doesn’t help that the film’s satirical targets are strictly standard issue, from the crumbling facade of middle-class contentment to a precociously creepy only child.

  • Potentially fertile themes and points of reference flit into view—the writer as con; the relation between despotism and Eros; Terence Stamp’s destabilizing performance in Teorema—only to vanish just as quickly. Ozon’s characters speak of literature’s fundamental inability to teach its audience anything; you wonder whether the director doesn’t feel similarly about his own medium.

  • ...Ozon’s latest movie, In the House, at first suggests a return to the anarchic adolescent protagonists of his early films, whose uncontrollable desires were inextricably linked with destruction and mayhem... In the sixteen years since [See the Sea], Ozon has followed a clear trajectory: from épater to embrasser le bourgeoisie.

  • I find its lessons on the lure of stories unenlightening, its fantasies utterly lacking in inventiveness, but I’m fascinated by its vision of a typical (or stereotypical) provincial French high school.

  • Ozon going back to Sitcom and the deconstruction of the bourgeois family (aping Teorema, explicitly cited in the dialogue), twinned with another idea about the power of storytelling to transform fantasy into reality (see e.g. Paperhouse) plus a semi-coded gay love story (or technically pedophile love story, even our hero's name - 'Germain Germain' - echoing Lolita).

  • Ozon films are often pushed ahead by their dialogue, and with In the House he offers up some of his sharpest tête-a-têtes. Jeanne and Germain’s casual banter recalls the brainy urbanity of Annie Hall—one of many nods to Woody Allen—and conveys all that we need know about their relationship...

  • Despite the film's murky and turbulent underbelly, Ozon is more interested in creating a puzzle rather than solving one, and he maintains a bright and stylish veneer throughout his own tales of blurred fiction and reality.

  • “In the House” might well be called “In the Story” because that’s where it plays out: the house in the story and the story in the house. Ozon has great fun finding cinematic ways to toy with narrative devices, so that the house also becomes a metaphor for the story, with its various levels, compartments, pillars, stairways, partially open doors, mirrors and that Claude can use to observe what’s happening.

  • Germain's meta-narrative commentary ensures an alienating effect, not unrelated to Brecht, and therein lies the refreshing uniqueness: since Hitchcock's films are perpetually analyzed by film theorists the world over, why not provide the space for such analysis within a thriller itself? As the narrative gamesmanship ramps up... we realize the dynamic playing out is as much audience vs. filmmaker as it is writer vs. director.

More Links