This is my review of In the House (Dans la maison).
A jaded teacher of literature is stirred out of boredom by the one piece of written homework that stands out from the rest. He and his wife are intrigued by the boy’s account of making friends with a fellow student in order to get inside his comfortable middle-class world, to see what it is like “in the house”, “dans la maison”. Each episode ends with the tantalising “à suivre”, “to be continued….”
Although, like her husband, hooked on the stories, the wife is uneasy about the ethics of all this. Is the boy’s objectivity somewhat chilling, his behaviour sinister, or are the accounts even true? An unsuccessful writer himself, the teacher suppresses any doubts in what becomes an obsession to develop the boy’s talents as a writer. Does the teacher have other subconscious motives? In the relationship between the teacher and the student, who is being manipulated? A parallel thread is the wife’s entertaining attempts to make a success of the avant garde art gallery which she manages.
Well-acted with some original visual techniques and a witty dialogue, this combines comedy, suspense, pathos with a dash of surrealism to create one of the best films I have seen for a while, all the more so for being unexpected.