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also known as L'homme qui ment

The Man Who Lies1968

  • 4.0
On the run from pursuing soldiers, Bois finds refuge in a small European town which, years before, was home to Jean, a resistance fighter hunted by Nazis. Boris ingratiates himself in the community, weaving elaborate tales of his encounters with the martyred rebel, and thereby seducing Jean's widow, sister and maid. But Boris's games are interrupted when a mysterious stranger (who may, in fact, be Jean) arrives in the village.

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What makes this film worth watching? See All Reviews

1 member likes this review

totally bizarre gets better & more bizarre as it goes _a total mystery that doesn't add up but that's ok it all works_so very stylized in a beautiful way _a lie is a lie is a lie

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (6)

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top reviewer

totally bizarre gets better & more bizarre as it goes _a total mystery that doesn't add up but that's ok it all works_so very stylized in a beautiful way _a lie is a lie is a lie

1 member likes this review

like other films from the same director, cinematic poetry

1 member likes this review

I like just about all films that Jean-Louis Xavier Trintignant is in, do not ask me why...unless you have seen his two films A Man and A Women and the sequel A Man and A Women 20 years Later. Marc

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

Alain Robbe-Grillet films are list toppers and this one is no exception.Enjoy this avant-garde film for what it is because you could see it a number of times and still be in the same place as is Jean Louis Trintignant! Mysterious and captivating with many faces.

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top reviewer

Alain Robbe-Grillet's The Man Who Lies (1968) is very high on my "films

with artistic merit" list. This film is truly worthy of the label

Cinematic Art. This is the fist Robbe-Grillet film that I've viewed and

it certainly makes me want to view many more.

The generally negative reviews that this film has gotten is due to the

fact that all of the available English language reviews that are

available seem to have been written by people whose brains have been

warped by big studio Hollywood films. This film can only be understood

in the context of the Continental European filmmaking tradition, which

generally opts for artistic merit over commercial viability.

The most obvious and coherent interpretation of this film for me, at least, is that it

portrays a severe form of war induced PTSD that has led to a psychotic

break, and an ensuing psychotic hallucination in the main character,

Boris. This film, in turn, is a detailed account of that angst filled,

psychotic, war horror hallucination. Like all instances of war induced,

or battle induced, PTSD, the sufferer keeps reliving the horrific

scenes of war that he has experienced. This would explain why at many

points in the film, including the very beginning, we see Nazi soldiers

in action, while the main thrust of the film clearly takes place AFTER

the end of WWII.

From this "psychotic" interpretation of this film, its title is rather

paradoxical insofar as it would seem to lead the viewer astray even

before he views the film. Perhaps this was the filmmaker's way of

deceptively "setting up" the viewer for a rational interpretation of a

film that is clearly not rational at all. As such, the seemingly

rational explanation of the film embedded in its title would "suck in"

and entrap the viewer to seek a rational understanding of a film that

clearly has no rational explanation, perhaps inducing some of the same

hopelessness, despair, angst, and confusion experienced throughout the

film by the protagonist Boris.

This whole film seems to be geared to reinforcing this PTSD. psychotic,

hallucinatory theme. This film has a lot of well conceived and well

placed, although radical, symbolic imagery. This film has a great deal

of radical editing, including interspersing WWII scenes into the main

storyline, which obviously is set after the end of WWII. The radical

cinematography, with its strange camera angles, its strange camera

movements, and an effective blend of close up shots of faces, and

inanimate object and locations, with long range shots, often in the

same scene, also reinforces the psychotic PTSD theme of this film. The

seeming anonymity of Boris when he enters the town is downright spooky,

as are the shots of the empty streets in the town. The "castle" in

which reside Jan Robin's widow, sister, maid, father, and estate

caretaker looks like something out of a well conceived horror movie,

with strategically placed cobwebs, otherwise vacant rooms filled with

artwork and piles of furniture, and a grimy, isolated tower replete

with a set of large bells. The sexual encounters that Boris has with

the widow, the sister, and the maid are somewhat bizarre, although

effectively so, in that they show a man who is a literal stranger to

everyone else in film, taking sexual liberties with women that he

doesn't even know, women who are closely related to the war resistance

leader with whom he says he's associated. The continuously changing war

stories from Boris, can be just as easily interpreted as the confused

rambling of a psychotic mind, as they can be "lies".

This is an excellent film with very high artistic merit. It is very

engaging, and compelling, with a well thought out, well executed, and

very detailed screenplay. The key to appreciating this film, in my

opinion, is not at all to attempt to understand it in rational terms

whatsoever, but to appreciate it as a an artistic attempt to convey the

horrors of WWII, and its effects on one man. Therefore, appreciation of

this film resides at the emotional and visceral level of the viewer, and

decidedly not in his mind.

20 Stars !!! 20 Stars !!! 20 Stars !!!

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top reviewer

I've been watching a lot of Robbe-Grillet movies lately and I'll have to say I'm getting bored with the gratuitous bondage sequences. This movie has several of those. But the general non-linear narrative of a man making up stories and identities about being hunted down by the Nazis works supremely well.