section Feature Film Competition

The Man In The Basement

  • Philippe Le Guay
  • FR
  • 2021
  • 114 min

Unusual Psycho-Thriller. Simon Sandberg sells a basement room in his house to a man who turns out to be a Holocaust denier and manipulative psychopath. Until now he had always repressed his Jewish origins, now he feels directly threatened - and reacts increasingly aggressively himself.

The Sandbergs are an intact, middle-class French family. Simon is an architect; his wife Hélène works in a doctor's practice. Their teenage daughter is going through puberty. At the traditional Sunday dinner at Simon's Jewish mother's home his older brother David, to whom Judaism means a lot more than it does to Simon, shows up. Simon mistakenly sells the basement of the family-owned Paris apartment to, of all people, a Holocaust denier. There is no defeating the new owner by legal means alone. This sets off a spiral of helplessness, aggression and violence. What begins as a film about the upheavals experienced by a Jewish family increasingly turns into a gripping psychological thriller that challenges commonplace attitudes such as the suppressing of one's own identity as well as philosemitism, latent antisemitism and racism whilst also demonstrating the seductions of conspiracy-thinking.
Text: Jörg Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby

Actress Victoria Eber will be present at all screenings for a film talk after the film.

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original title The Man In The Basement

international title The Man In The Basement

german title The Man In The Basement

JFBB section Feature Film Competition

  • director Philippe Le Guay

country/countries FR

year 2021

duration 114 min

Portrait of Philippe Le Guay

Philippe Le Guay

BIO Philippe Le Guay is a French screenwriter, film director and occasional actor. He studied film at the IDHEC and began his career as a screenwriter before directing his first feature film Les Deux Fragonard in 1989. He is known for his work on The Women on the 6th Floor (2010), which was well received at the French box office, and the César Award-nominated Bicycling with Molière (2013).