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L'Horloger de Saint-Paul

Bertrand Tavernier | 1974 | 105 MINS
France | Subtitles
A mild-mannered watchmaker discovers that his son has murdered a local factory foreman. He befriends the investigating officer and tries to understand the motivations behind his son’s crime.

In Detail

This film is a beautifully crafted, technically brilliant effort with a script and great acting to match. Director Bertrand Tavernier’s debut film fashions a subtle, conservative character study inserted into the framework of a crime story, based upon a George Simenon novel.

It is a study of an ageing, middle-class clockmaker with a downcast disposition, played, or rather inhabited, by Philippe Noiret. This unremarkable man is stunned to find out that his only son has been arrested for murder. Tavernier’s recreation of Lyons is novel after a decade of Paris overkill, and you can feel the post-1968 political tension, the alarming shift to the right, and the straying of decent men into violence.

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