In the House

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Acclaimed director Francois Ozon follows the glorious camp of his previous film Potiche with this provocative psychological thriller/black comedy, a superbly controlled, coolly ironic adaptation of Juan Mayorga’s play, The Boy in the Last Row. Germain (Fabrice Luchini) is a jaded high school literature teacher who is frustrated by the mundane work of his students, with the exception of shy Claude and his almost unsettling gift for deliciously voyeuristic writing. Both disturbed and fascinated by Claude’s increasingly sinister, perverse and reality-blurring essays about secretly entering the home of a classmate named Rapha and spying on his family (particularly Rapha’s beautiful mother, played by Emmanuelle Seigner, who becomes Claude’s unwitting object of desire), Germain, his love of teaching fiction reignited, haphazardly encourages his star student’s strange storytelling talents, eventually drawing Germain’s wife, Jeanne (Kristin Scott Thomas) into the boy’s semi-imaginary escapades. As Geramain’s writing assignments for his budding young writer steer increasingly out of control, the borders between reality and fiction become both indistinguishable and deadly, leading to unintended consequences for everyone. (Dir. by Francois Ozon, 2012, France, in French with subtitles, 105 mins., Rated R, Cohen Media Group) Digital