The Judge and the Assassin

1976 [FRENCH]

Crime / Drama / History

IMDb Rating 7.4 10 1980

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August 18, 2021 at 07:42 PM


Gérard Jugnot as Le photographe
Philippe Noiret as Le juge Emile Rousseau
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.14 GB
fre 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 5 / 9
2.11 GB
fre 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 6 min
P/S 0 / 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 9 / 10

Then came Tavernier!

And with him,the French cinema regained all that it had lost with the nouvelle vague:magnificent cinematography(I urge everybody to see this film in a movie theater),elaborate screenplays,Clouzot's Renoir's and Duvivier's bite ,all that made once the French cinema great."Le juge et l'assassin " is his sophomore effort ,after "l'horloger de Saint- Paul",but it was one which firmly and finally placed Tavernier among the greatest,most ambitious artists of the French cinema.

First of all,he did with Michel Galabru -who used to play in mediocre comedies - what Claude Chabrol did with Jean Yanne ("le boucher" "que la bete meure") :this actor is playing his lifetime part,revealing a talent which one would never expect from him.

France,end of the nineteenth century;anti-Semitism is rampant :twice ,a poster appears :"La croix (the cross): a paper against the Jews as no one can";Brialy's character:"we all need an outlet for our bad deeds:I have chosen the Jews,because it's safe";Renée Faure,the judge's good mother,serving the "mercy bouillon" to the Poor,provided that they sign a petition against captain Dreyfus .After the 1870 war,France was humiliated and the song a buck officer sings speaks volumes about the loss of Alsace and Lorraine.A world which Zola -whose books were burned- depicted ,where 2,500 children died in the coal mines... The killer killed 12 of them..

This is not a serial killer who comes out of the blue.Tavernier takes time to describe his mind :he was bitten by a rabid dog (or more like as one scene in a church tells us ,he was raped by a priest),he served in the army but was discharged,and mainly the girl he loved did not want him anymore.He tried to kill her and to take his own life but he failed twice,and in the asylum,they wrecked his brain.Although he is a killer,he is actually a political prisoner:he realized that as far his crimes were concerned ,the blame had to be put on a criminal society:in a remarkable scene ,the judge's mother reads the reports concerning the awful crimes as if she 's reading the tittle-tattle of the town.The serial killer identifies himself with Jesus and Joan of Arc ...

In direct contrast to hîm,we have the judge :admirably portrayed by Tavernier's favourite actor ,Philippe Noiret,he epitomizes the bourgeoisie,the man who wants to keep the world as it is;this is a very complex opaque character:nearing 50,he stills lives with his mother,and he's got nasty habits (see the scene when he buggers Isabelle Huppert).

There are a lot of things to say about "le juge et l'assassin":the film successfully recreates the atmosphere of the period,not only by its hints at Dreyfus,at a country which is bent on revenge ,at a Church which feels its power slip away (the priest thundering against "school without God" ,about 10 years after Jules Ferry instituted secular education,and about 10 years before the separation of the Church and the State in France).But it even recreates it with its original songs ,which is quite a feat.We really feel we are in the time machine,and that's the main reason why Tavernier's movie is so precious:no one can find echoes of the seventies in France,which would have dated and marred the film.Even if the socialists appear at the end of the movie,there's no connection with their impending coming in the eighties.

A masterpiece ,Tavernier's best film along with "la vie et rien d'autre".

Reviewed by raskimono 9 / 10

Histoire de la Francais dans affaire Dreyfus par despotisme

The judge and the assassin is a strange and ironic title for this film. It does not represent what your mind immediately leads you to believe. It is about the arrest and trial of a psychopath, alas French auteur style. It bears in odd-about way a resemblance to Lacombe Lucien which was released two years earlier. Featuring a bravura performance by Michel Galabru ( he worn the Cesar, the French Oscar) as the serial killer, his trial becomes a study into the mind and evil of nation at the turn of the last century. Dealing with anti-semitism, civil unrest, disobedience and the tyranny of the France and the Church can make anyone crazy and an assassin. With strong performances by Tavernier favorite actor Philippe Noiret and a young Isabelle Huppert, it is a fine film in the tradition of French cinema prior to the advent of the New Wave.

Reviewed by suraines22 8 / 10

Overly ambitious investigating judge gets his man

The story, set in the 1890s, is about investigating judge Rousseau (played by Philippe Noiret) who is determined to obtain a confession from a drifter named Bouvier who has raped and killed two dozen children in the countryside of France. The character Bouvier is closely based upon real-life French serial killer Joseph Vacher (vacher and bouvier both mean herdsman in French). Most French films depict the investigating judge as independent and ethical, but this film depicts an overly ambitious judge who believes that it will help his career if he can get Bouvier to confess to the crimes and have him punished by execution. Bouvier is clearly mad, but if he is declared insane, he will not be executed, and Rousseau will not get the recognition he seeks. To deal with the question of whether Bouvier is insane, Rousseau selects the doctor who will examine him, which is the prerogative of the investigating judge in France. Rousseau is with his mother and his attorney friend Villedieu when he receives the doctor's report that Bouvier is sane. Rousseau is ecstatic, but Villedieu cynically remarks: "The servility of the medical corps never fails to astonish me. Sometimes it's embarrassing." When Rousseau's bed-ridden mother scolds him for neglecting his duty to take the statements of witnesses, Rousseau responds: "What is more idiotic than a witness? I wouldn't believe them anyway. I want him to confess." Rousseau's first breakthrough comes when he tricks the mad-yet-clever Bouvier into describing on a wall map his route through France. With a piece of chalk, Bouvier traces his route from north to south, passing through the very places where the rapes and murders took place. Rousseau confronts him, and Bouvier promises to write a confession, which he eventually does. Although not depicted in the film, the real-life murderer, Vacher, was found to be sane by the criminal court (cour d'assises) of Ain, and he was sentenced to death. The real-life Vacher was executed by guillotine on December 31, 1898.

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