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      The Clockmaker

      1974 1h 45m Drama List
      100% Tomatometer 7 Reviews 79% Audience Score 250+ Ratings Clockmaker Michel Descombes (Philippe Noiret) is a mild-mannered man living alone in the city of Lyon, France, after being deserted by his wife. Michel's quiet life goes into upheaval when he discovers his son Bernard (Clotilde Joano) has murdered a local factory foreman. Despite their estranged relationship, the ensuing consequences of his son's actions shatter Michel's concept of his own world and things will never be the same. Based on the novel by Georges Simenon. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (7) Critics Reviews
      Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times It's not about the killer, but about the killer's father. And it presents him so eloquently that it becomes one of the year's best films. Rated: 4/4 Oct 23, 2004 Full Review Jesús Fernández Santos El Pais (Spain) The film sketches a panorama that is both profound and warm of life in the provinces today. [Full Review in Spanish] Jul 30, 2019 Full Review Fernando F. Croce CinePassion Post-'68 France as 'a curious country' of befuddled fathers and obscured revolutionaries Jun 15, 2010 Full Review Daniel Eagan Film Journal International Strong, serious crime thriller that asks questions Rated: 3/5 Jul 27, 2005 Full Review Emanuel Levy EmanuelLevy.Com Rated: 4/5 Jul 7, 2005 Full Review Jules Brenner Cinema Signals Rated: 5/5 Jan 13, 2005 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (15) audience reviews
      helder f A journey of a man (a clockmaker) who learns that his son committed a crime and tries to understand his motives. The whole movie has a sort of slow pace that appears to echo the man's mind: a quiet turmoil, with a few moments of agitation. The movie feels like a poem and at times is extraordinarily slow, but it's still worth the watch. One leaves the movie without knowing much about this man, but with the feeling that we somewhat connected with him... And we respect his quietness. Perhaps, the same feeling the character has in regard to his son. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/11/24 Full Review Audience Member I came upon this film from a Siskel & Ebert special in which they reviewed overlooked movies from the 1970s, and while I found the performances to be strong, the story seemed more like a real-life event instead of something cinematic. For instance, the titular clockmaker does not attempt to talk to his son after he has killed a man, instead preferring to let the police arrest him before approaching his son. In a film, he would have rushed to his son in a heartbeat because that is what a movie requires of its characters. Instead, we have a very ponderous film that has the clockmaker glumly walking through the streets while occasionally talking with the police chief or someone tenuously connected to his son. You might enjoy the film more than I did, but then again that's the great thing about art, its subjectivity. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member An interesting political movie. Good acting. Jean Rochefort is awesome in the part of the bad cop. A real sadic. Lyon is a beautiful city.... Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/23 Full Review Audience Member J' aurais bien aimé lire le livre. Je suis certaine que c' est encore meilleur. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/22/23 Full Review Audience Member The Clockmaker is a technically well-crafted precision endeavor in direction, writing, and acting. Director Bertrand Tavernier fashions a subtle, conservative character study asserted into the framework of a crime story, a study of an aging, middle-class clockmaker with a downcast disposition, played, or rather inhabited, by Philippe Noiret. This commonplace man is stunned out of his sluggishness when he finds out that his only son has been arrested for murder. What is poignant about this story, and what improves the usually dormant drama of a crime film, is that Noiret lives quietly, alone with his son, who is almost grown up. In other words, his son is his whole tranquil life. Yet, when a detective played by mulishly tenacious Jean Rochefort asks him for help with the case, Noiret grasps how little he knows about his son, and struggles with his feeling that he is unable to blame him. The film opens on Noiret having a night out, when his friends crack wise on the elections, the leftists, a protest rally, and the death penalty. He has fun this night. The next day two policemen come to his shop and rummage around his adjoining apartment. They particularly search his son's room before taking him to the police station where Rochefort tells him his son is wanted for murder of a security guard at the place where his girlfriend was fired, and has not been apprehended. There was even an eyewitness. Tavernier puts Noiret's character through a motley crew of odd dramatic angles aside from just the press, who are of course just interested in ratings, but also tangents to the main thread of the film like right-wing hooligans who vandalize his window and two girls who confirm how vile the murdered guard was to women. The skillful essence of the film is in the abstractness of it, giving us impressions of how much his relationship with his son means to him, and how bewildered he is that he has no idea what to do to help his son, such as in his transit back home from the precinct and can't stand without feeling ill and has to ask a passenger for his seat. The film is not hard-hitting enough to be great, but it serves its locale with an authentic atmosphere. The story itself, no matter how well it poignantly portrays a world in miniature, is nevertheless very slight. On the whole, The Clockmaker is a dramatic exercise. As many other French films from the 1960s and '70s were, it is less about telling the story and more about technique. It doesn't compare to the boisterousness and self-consciousness of most of the New Wave films of that time, and in fact is a particularly subtle film. It is essentially a film that says of film-making, "Yes, less is more." Rated 3 out of 5 stars 01/19/23 Full Review Audience Member I love Phiilppe Noiret. This movie is a typical 70's french movie. Not a lot of actin, a lot of retrospection and thinking about a father and his son relationship. But still, I loved the way Noiret played the role, and Jean Rochefort was so young... Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/18/23 Full Review Read all reviews
      The Clockmaker

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      Cast & Crew

      60% 66% Dans Paris 100% 91% Toni 86% 79% A Better Life 57% 58% The Beautiful Person 90% 61% The Father of My Children Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Clockmaker Michel Descombes (Philippe Noiret) is a mild-mannered man living alone in the city of Lyon, France, after being deserted by his wife. Michel's quiet life goes into upheaval when he discovers his son Bernard (Clotilde Joano) has murdered a local factory foreman. Despite their estranged relationship, the ensuing consequences of his son's actions shatter Michel's concept of his own world and things will never be the same. Based on the novel by Georges Simenon.
      Director
      Bertrand Tavernier
      Producer
      Raymond Danon
      Screenwriter
      Jean Aurenche, Pierre Bost, Bertrand Tavernier, Georges Simenon
      Production Co
      Lira Films
      Genre
      Drama
      Original Language
      French (France)
      Runtime
      1h 45m
      Sound Mix
      Mono
      Aspect Ratio
      1.66:1