This review reportedly contains spoilers.
When I first came out of this film, I really didn’t know what to make of it. And I definitely wasn’t sure whether I liked it. Then I started talking to other people who had seen it and on the whole their responses were pretty negative. When I found myself defending it, I realised that it was a much more complex and engaging film than I had previously thought.
It all hangs on the fantastic performance of Ernst Umhauer as Claude, a teenage boy who befriends a classmate and gradually intrudes on his family life. At first he does this for material for his literature homework and to please his teacher, and then, who knows. It is not knowing Claude’s motivations that is the hook in this film.
After that, it is the layers of voyeurism that engage. It all begins with Claude, who writes for his teacher, Germain. As Germain gets further enthralled by the lives of his pupil’s and the motivations of Claude, his wife begins to read Claude’s voyeuristic writing and becomes involved in the whole dangerous affair. And then there is us, the audience, who are complicit at every level. I wanted to judge Claude for his actions and to an extent Germain too for encouraging him. At the end of it all though, I felt I couldn’t judge them without judging myself as the ultimate voyeur; the film goer.