Genealogies of a Crime | Genealogien eines Verbrechens
This film was inspired by an anecdote from the history of psychoanalysis. Hermine Hellmut von Hug, a child psychologist in Vienna in the early 20th century, believed that she had discovered in her five-year-old nephew a pathological tendency to kill. As a disciple of Freud, she was certain that her nephew had reached the age at which his character was complete. She therefore decided to observe his inevitable criminal development until he finally committed the crime she was expecting of him.
What happened, however, was that the boy killed her, his aunt – the only person who knew about his tendency. So much for the facts.
In this film, René, the young defendant, is represented by a female lawyer called Solange. She aims to expose the convoluted interplay of subtle relationships that has existed between the victim and the (future) perpetrator over a period of more than ten years.
Initially, it looks as though Jeanne – the boy's aunt – is not only bent on exploring her nephew's inescapable tendency but on proving a new theory as well. And the young man, apparently, not only wants to punish his aunt for her unsavoury curiosity but also responds to her seemingly irresistible 'invitation' to commit a murder.
In brief; it isa film about determinism versus free will.
In the course of the investigations, however, the case takes a surprising turn for Solange. […]
Translated from: Dokumentation der 47. Internationalen Filmfestspiele Berlin 1997
by Raoul Ruiz
with Catherine Deneuve, Michel Piccoli, Melvil Poupaud
France / Portugal 1996/97