Genealogies Of A Crime

on March 27, 1998 by Melissa Morrison
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Catherine Deneuve seems to choose film projects on the basis of how her character subverts the actress' image as a glacial beauty and French icon. That would explain why this strange project appealed to her. In it, she plays two roles: a losing lawyer investigating the murder of a psychoanalyst, purportedly by the victim's nephew; and the twisted psychoanalyst herself, in flashbacks.
   "Geneal ogies of a Crime" begins with a dark and stormy night and appropriately menacing music. The rest has all the suspense of a game of Clue. Its fun comes instead from sly digs at the analyst's profession, such as those involving two professional archenemies, Georges (Michel Piccoli), who steals silverware, and Christian (Andrzej Seweryn), whose fastidiousness begs his own visit to a therapist. There's also some theme about reincarnation and revenge from beyond the grave. Whatever. The best that can be said for Deneuve's dual roles is that she looks fabulous in her Yves St. Laurent wardrobe. Starring Catherine Deneuve and Michel Piccoli. Directed by Raoul Ruiz. Written by Raoul Ruiz and Pascal Bonitzer. Produced by Paulo Branco. A Strand release. Suspense. French-language; English subtitles. Running time: 113 min.
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