During the month of March the San Francisco Alliance Française is marking Le Mois de la Francophonie (Francophone month), an international celebration of the French language and Francophone culture. The Consulate General of Switzerland joins the AF as its community partner at this week’s movie night, and the chosen film is a joint Franco-Swiss venture, Love is the Perfct Crime (L’amour est un crime parfait).
Directed by the Larrieu brothers Arnaud and Jean-Marie – who also wrote the screenplay – Love is the Perfect Crime was screened in the Special Presentation section of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, and won nominations for a Crystal Arrow for its directors at the 2013 Les Arcs European Film Festival, and for the Tokyo Grand Prix at the Tokyo International Film Festival in the same year.
The film is based on the novel Incidences by Philippe Djian – author of the books which inspired the films Betty Blue (1986) and André Téchiné’s Unforgivable (2011) – and the action takes place against the backdrop of the University of Lausanne. The central character, Marc, is an outwardly charming professor of literature, but has a reputation for seducing his female students. One of these students, Barbara, mysteriously disappears following a night spent with Marc in his Alpine chalet, and when Barbara’s stepmother, Anna, arrives on campus inquiring about her disappearance, the libidinous professor sets his sights on her as well. According to Variety magazine, “It’s a credit to the Larrieus that their protagonist appears a prime suspect of criminality from the get-go while remaining mischievously charming nonetheless”.
The plot becomes even more interesting when it appears that Marc is a sleepwalker, that he’s being pursued by another student, Annie, and that his rather prim head of department, Richard – who is exasperated by Marc’s behavior – nevertheless has his eye on Marc’s sister, Marianne, who shares the Alpine chalet with her brother.
The role of Marc – a “vastly entertaining performance” says Variety – is played by actor and director Mathieu Amalric, star of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), who appeared in Stephen Spielberg’s Munich in 2005, was the lead villain, Dominic Greene, in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace, and played Serge X in The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
Marianne is played by multi-award-winning actress Karin Viard, Barbara by Marion Duval, and her stepmother, Anna, by actress and director, Maiwenn.
Love is the Perfect Crime screens at the Alliance Française, 1345 Bush Street, on Tuesday March 1st at 7.00 pm. Admission is free, but a $5 donation is recommended.