Monsieur Klein  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Monsieur Klein (Mr. Klein) is a French 1976 film directed by Joseph Losey, with Alain Delon starring in the title role.


It is 1942, the war is in full swing and France is occupied by the Nazis. To Robert Klein, however, these events are of little concern. As an art dealer, he makes a nice profit off the situation of the Jews, who are selling their possessions in a hurry to leave the country. He holds no political affinities and chooses to remain indifferent. All this changes when one day, a Jewish newspaper is accidentally delivered to his address, and Klein discovers there is another Robert Klein residing in Paris, a Jew sought by the police. When the other Klein cannot be found, authorities grow suspicious and the art dealer is forced to offer proof of his French heritage. Before long he's entangled in a quest to track down his elusive namesake and find out what happened.

Symbolism and allusions

Although Losey integrates historical elements (such as the Rafle du Vel'd'Hiv) into the film, it is more than a reconstruction of the life and status of the Jews under the Vichy regime.

The relationship of the film with the works of the writer Franz Kafka has often been noted: the link with The Metamorphosis, telling of the brutal and sudden transformation of a man into a cockroach, with The Castle, which describes a search for one's own identity by way of getting to know "the other", or with The Trial, which sees an accused man become an outlaw of society.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Monsieur Klein" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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