Monsieur Klein

Monsieur Klein
Directed by Joseph Losey
Produced by Alain Delon
Written by Franco Solinas
Fernando Morandi
Starring Alain Delon
Jeanne Moreau
Francine Bergé
Juliet Berto
Jean Bouise
Suzanne Flon
Music by Egisto Macchi
Pierre Porte
Cinematography Gerry Fisher
Edited by Marie Castro-Vasquez
Henri Lanoë
Michèle Neny
Release dates
27 October 1976 (France)
Running time
123 min
Country France
Language French
Budget $3,500,000
Box office 711,752 admissions (France)[1]

Monsieur Klein (Mr. Klein) is a 1976 French film directed by Joseph Losey, with Alain Delon starring in the title role.


Paris, January 1942. France is occupied by the Nazis. Robert Klein, apparently apolitical, is a well-to-do art dealer, Roman Catholic and Alsatian by birth, who takes advantage of French Jews who need to sell artworks to raise cash to leave the country. One day, the local Jewish newspaper, addressed to him, is delivered to his home. He learns that another Robert Klein who has been living in Paris, a Jew sought by the police, has had his mail forwarded to him in an apparent attempt to destroy his social reputation and make him a target of official anti-Semitism. He reports this to the police who remain suspicious that he may be reporting this scheme to disguise his own true identity. His own investigations lead him in contradictory directions, to Klein who lives in a slum while having an affair with his concierge and to Klein who visits a palatial country estate where he has seduced an apparently Jewish married woman. When the art dealer cannot locate the other Klein, authorities require him to offer proof of his French heritage. While waiting for the documentation to arrive, he struggles to track down his namesake and learn his motivation. Before he can resolve the situation by either means, he is caught up in the July 1942 roundup of Parisian Jews. He is reunited with Jews who once were his clients as they board boxcars for Germany.

The film offers no clear resolution of its contradictory evidence and blind alleys. According to Vincent Canby, the filmmakers "are not as interested in the workings of the plot as in matters of identity and obsession".[2]


Symbolism and allusions

Although Losey integrates historical elements (such as the infamous Vel' d'Hiv Roundup) into the film, it is more than a reconstruction of the life and status of the Jews under the Vichy regime.

The relationship of the film with the works of the writer Franz Kafka has often been noted, for example: The Metamorphosis, telling of the brutal and sudden transformation of a man into an insect; The Castle, which describes a search for one's own identity by way of getting to know "the other"; The Trial, which sees an accused man become an outlaw of society.


The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival[3] but lost to Taxi Driver. However, Monsieur Klein did win the César Award for Best Film while Losey won the César Award for Best Director. Alexandre Trauner won the César Award for Best Production Design, and in addition the film was nominated for Césars in four other categories.[4]


  1. Box office information for film at Box Office Story
  2. Canby, Vincent (November 7, 1977). "Cool, Elegant 'Mr. Klein' is a Metaphorical Movie". New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  3. "Festival de Cannes: Monsieur Klein". Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  4. "Awards for Monsieur Klein". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2006-06-16.

External links

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