Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Le Dossier 51 
Le Dossier 51, Michel Deville’s adaptation of Gilles Perrault’s novel, would strongly remind one of such classic films on surveillance as The Conversation and The Lives of Others, as well as the paranoid conspiracy thrillers popular during the Watergate-era. But, unlike all these films, Deville employed a novel formal device by placing the viewers into the shoes of those carrying out the intrusive surveillance. The result of the point-of-view narration and shoot, therefore, was disconcerting both psychologically and from an audio-visual perspective. A French man has just been elevated to the level of a Diplomat, and for reasons not elaborated an unidentified intelligence agency decides to prepare detailed dossiers on his life, background and activities – the kind of illegal snooping CIA is notorious for. The motive, therefore, was secondary vis-à-vis the actual act. They name the man ‘51’, use every available mode of information gathering, including photographing his and his beautiful wife's moves using telescopic cameras, wire-trapping, accessing confidential information, bugging his apartment, tailing, undercover agent conducting fake interviews with people from his past and present (including a particularly disturbing one with his emotionally scarred mother) and even arranging seduction of his former girlfriend, and starts documenting, with chilling efficiency every single facet of his life, spilling out worms out of his closet in the process. And if that weren’t enough, they even psychoanalyze him based on the information gathered and finalize ways of blackmailing him if necessary. The film, using its faux-documentary style, provided terrifying commentary on state-organized breach of privacy, thus giving relevance and credence to paranoia among common people.
Director: Michel Deville
Genre: Thriller/Spy Thriller/Political Thriller/Psychological Thriller