If you look to the social media tags for this film, you will probably see the usual names, genre, classic and all that. You will also see something else there this time however. IDENTITY. This is the heart of MR KLEIN. Thousands of words have been written over it. Sadly very, very few make it to this set. This is a travesty indeed. What you do get is the film, three separate features and a sense that you are missing something substantial. A simple premise, 1942 Paris. Nazi occupation. Jewish deportation and art dealer Robert Klein (Alain Delon) is profiteering from the nightmare. Jews need to sell works for money quickly, he facilitates this at huge benefit to himself and no one else. Karma is a bitch though and someone from the Jewish community, with his exact name has signed up for a Jewish periodical but he is mistake for them and as such society sees him as a Jew. This all could be resolved if Klein can find the real Klein as such.

Here we begin the existential voyage of culpability, conformity and character. Losey toys with the audience like few before or since. Delon wandering journey, is framed less as a search and more as a living nightmare. We have seen the footage of the camps, SS executions and heard tales of Jewish survival against the odds but here, non Jews reflect on the true arbitrary nature of ethnic hate. Its remorselessly dark, benefiting from a sense of dread that prevades the frantic search for the elusive Klein. When all is done and Klein’s ‘friends’ of white Aryan acceptability, start to turn on him, he seems to be resigned to his fate. He gained from those at their most vulnerable and is destroyed in the mix. Karma.


  • Introduction by Jean-Baptiste Thoret
  • Mr Klein Revisited by Michel Ciment
  • Interview with Henri Lanoe

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