The prolific Francois Ozon, by the age of forty-five, has already made a dozen full-length films and a couple of short films in only fifteen years. Ozon is widely known especially in France and has garnered a popular and loyal audience for his very stylish and sophisticated style in film making that revolves majorly around gay themes.
Ozon is not only popular in his own country but has also reached the British audience with his films featuring many prominent actresses from our country such as Kristin Scott Thomas, Romola Garai and Charlotte Rampling.
In the House is a film that revolves around the filmmaker’s recurrent concerns such as stories inside stories and the nature of creativity. The setting is in an unnamed French town and one of its secondary schools with a prissy and too serious literature teacher named Germain as lead character (which is played by Fabrice Luchini).
The ever too serious teacher Germain hates the conventional mindset and teaching style of his fellow teacher in the secondary school and is sadden by the fact of his students’ monotonous uniformity and lack of creativity. Kristin Scott Thomas plays the role of Jeanne, Germain’s wife, who manages a stylish and avant-garde art gallery called Minotaur’s Labyrinth.
Jeanne tolerates and embraces her husband’s querulous pessimistic ways but counters his mindset in the therapeutic effects of literature. The real story happens when Germain encounters a 16 year old student named Claude, played by Ernst Umhauer, and grabs Germain’s interest through the form of one of his class essays.
Unlike all his student’s boring essays on “What I Did Last Week,” Claud wrote his fascination towards a fellow student named Rapha and his normal middle-class life. His satirical essay grabbed the attention of Germain so he then encourages Claude to chronicle it and to observe Rapha’s household as catalyst.
The film is an erotic and comic story of what goes on inside the mind of a man who is so preoccupied by the issues and difficulties in the making of a work of art. In the House is Francois Ozon’s latest film that takes on a cleverly comic psychological theme about teaching and erotic desire and obsession.