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Genealogies of a Crime (1998)

Catherine Deneuve , Michel Piccoli , Raoul Ruiz  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Melvil Poupaud, Andrzej Seweryn, Bernadette Lafont
  • Directors: Raoul Ruiz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Strand Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007KTAZE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,837 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Genealogies of a Crime" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Raul Ruiz directed this typically eccentric look at the nature of crime, the human mind, and life in the modern world. Solange (Catherine Deneuve) is a defense attorney with a reputation for taking on cases that can't be won -- and proving it by losing them. Her latest lost cause is Rene (Melvil Poupaud), a young man on trial for murdering his Aunt Jeanne (also played by Deneuve), a cruel psychiatrist who raised him as a child and was convinced from infancy that he was destined for a life of crime. While Rene would seemingly need a good lawyer in his situation, he prefers instead to play games with Solange's mind and finds unlikely allies in a strange society of French and Belgian psychologists, headed by Georges (Michel Piccoli), who seems crazier than anyone he's treating. Solange, however, finds herself falling in love with Rene, which only makes a difficult situation more unpleasant for everyone. Through a series of layered flashbacks, we're shown Rene's crime several times from a number of perspectives, which ultimately makes his actions seem more vague with each repetition. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I had the opportunity to see the film and meet the director (Raul Ruiz a Chilean living in Paris since 1973) on a film festival in Miami. I liked the film first because it is based on a true story, and second because it has the courage to contend with one of the dark sides of humanity. Posing the agelong unanswered question, are we born evil?, or do we develop these characteristics as we grow old. The idea is based on an event that occurred in Vienna at the turn of the century which involves a psychoanalyst (Deneuve) and her nephew (Piccoli), what is so particular, is that analysis at that time, believed that the personality of the individual was completely developed by the age of five and could probably be corrected but not changed. The analyst thought to discover on her nephew criminal tendencies as a child, and she wanted to study him to prove this theory. Unfortunately once he grew up at the age of seventeen he proved her right, (or maybe wrong) depending on which side you are. On the surface this seems to be a theme of psychoanalysis but it is much more than that, it is about the constant struggle between free will versus implied fate. It is fascinating to see how Deneuve becomes almost invisible during the story, how she conveys emotions and feelings transforming them into something enigmatic, this is very well suited to her temperament and portrayal. The movie has its flaws but as a whole, the story, the filming, the acting and Deneuve's presence makes it worth while. This is especially captivating for those (like myself) who like to dwell into the nature of human beings. It is like the moth flying to the flame, to the inevitable (sometimes it almost feels like a mirror) and it is so human!. Even If you don't like it!. It will make you think.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, very interesting July 29, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I saw this movie on television about a hundred thousand times, because each time, I find myself being recaptivated by it. Of course, I have a very limited knowledge of the people behind it, other than Catherine Deneuve and Michel Piccoli, but I still liked it a lot. It involves the story of a psychiatrist (Deneuve) who gets guardianship over her orphaned nephew, only to be murdered by him ten years later. After the murder, Deneuve comes back to portray the lawyer defending the boy on his charge for murder. From there, she learns of his aunt's psycoanalysis group, meets a witness (Piccoli), and learns of the aunt's former psycoanalysis of her own nephew. I have to say, the movie is extremely interesting, and yet haunting by the boy's character and his mysterious life. It really delves into what some people think is impossible, the whole time, referring itself to a somewhat old story based on the same priciples of the recent one. Then, there is Deneuve, who gets so disguised by both roles, that you are enchanted by her trust, intelligence, and agonizing curiosity. Good movie.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars boring and pointless May 28, 2012
By rwx
What's wrong with a movie that has a clear, straightforward, coherent story? Maybe there's something wrong with me, but that's what i expect, and that's what this movie does not have. I see a scene in which two women are having soup together and chitchatting, while the camera sweeps around for no apparent reason, dodging behind furniture. What's the point?
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