In the House (Dans la maison)
No one manages social ambiguity like Francois Ozon (remember Swimming Pool) and In the House sees the director treating an intriguing concept with more than his usual skill. The film is an adaptation of Juan Mayorga’s play The Boy in the Last Row, centered on the bizarre friendship between a jaded high-school literature teacher, Germain (Fabrice Luchini), and one of his precocious students, Claude (Ernst Umhauer), who comes to his attention after writing about his stay with the middle-class family of a classmate, Rapha (Bastien Ughetto). Claude’s talent in bringing Rapha’s family to life on the page reignites Germain’s passion for literature, but it also unleashes all sorts of unexpected consequences. Umhauer’s performance as Claude is nothing short of brilliant, holding together a film that teeters on the brink of falling apart, but manages to stay the course brilliantly.