Docteur Petiot


Time Out says

De Chalonge's true story of mass murder in Occupied Paris has Dr Petiot stalking the city like a Nosferatu reborn, surrounding his murders with an obsessive theatrical ritual to a scratchy tango accompaniment. Self-conscious cinematic trickery - all expressionist chiaroscuro and silent-era iris shots - makes an unsettling frame for Petiot's career. The factual part is that Petiot ran a roaring trade persuading Jews that he could ship them safely to Argentina; after handing over their possessions, they ended up in his oven rather than Hitler's. Grisly as the tale is, de Chalonge gives it an almost comic air of Grand Guignol. A hideously flamboyant Serrault plays the killer as a Demon King with kohled eyes and flapping coat-tails. Yet there's a real sense of history, of the emergence from the night of Occupation into the tainted daylight of Liberation. This is a powerfully idiosyncratic shadow-show, an inventively cold-blooded inquiry into the way war breeds monsters - and an unqualified marrow-chiller to boot.


Release details

102 mins

Cast and crew

Christian de Chalonge
Dominique Garnier, Christian de Chalonge
Michel Serrault
Pierre Romans
Zbigniew Horoks
Berangère Bonvoisin
Aurore Prieto
André Chaumeau
Axel Bogousslavski
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