Facing (2002)

Facing (2002) Movie Poster

Mathias Ledoux directs this atmospheric erotic thriller. Author Jean Dorset (Jean-Hugues Anglade) has suffered from a bad case of writer's block since his first novel became a bestseller. He lives in a small apartment in Paris with his wife Michelle (Clotilde Courau) and, in spite of their ostensible success, the couple are having trouble making ends meet.

One day they receive the utterly unexpected news that they are the sole inheritors of a wealthy neighbor, M. Guillemet, whom they have never met.

Guillemet has left them his old townhouse along with all of his belongings, but with two conditions -- the first is that the dead man's papers be left untouched, and the second is that his live-in maid Clemence Richbourg (Christine Boisson) remain employed at the estate. The Dorsets soon learn why they were the recipients of such strange generosity.

Guillemet had set up a camera with a massive zoom lens pointing to their bedroom window. The couple is shocked and disgusted, but not enough to give up their new tony digs. Clemence proves to be a more unnerving presence.

Her steely, impassive demeanor coupled with her penchant for wearing Mao jackets (and, it turns out, naughty underwear) gives her an air of menace. Soon the Dorsets speculate that Clemence poisoned her former employer's food in an ill-fated attempt at inheriting his property. Later, Jean decides to write his next novel on his curious benefactor.

When he starts digging around the old man's files, he begins to suspect that his wife not only did know Guillemet, but frequented his place. This film was screened at the 2000 Berlin Film Festival.

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