Released films

Genealogies of a Crime

Généalogies d'un crime

A film by Raúl Ruiz

Starring Catherine Deneuve, Melvil Poupaud, Michel Piccoli

In Vienna shortly before the war, Hermine Helmut von Hug, a child psychoanalyst, is convinced that her five-year-old nephew has homicidal tendencies. She decides to study the inexorable evolution of her nephew's criminal tendencies. The nephew finally commits the long-awaited crime: he kills his aunt.

  • 1997, 1h53 | Restored version

Release date


Catherine Deneuve Solange Rivière / Jeanne Higgins
Melvil Poupaud - René
Michel Piccoli - Georges Didier


Directed by Raúl Ruiz
Screenplay Raúl Ruiz, Pascal Bonitzer

Assistant director Stéphane Riga
Director of photography Stefan Ivanov
Montage Valeria Sarmiento
Sound Henri Maïkoff
Costumes Elisabeth Tavernier
Sets Luc Chalon, Solange Zeïtoun
Music Jorge Arriagada

Producer Paulo Branco
Production Gémini Films, Madragoa Filmes, Studiocanal
Distribution Alfama Films

Raúl Ruiz

In 1983, Serge Toubiana wrote in Le Cas Ruiz, his introductory text for Cahiers du Cinéma no. 345, devoted to Raúl Ruiz: "The most prolific filmmaker of our time, whose filmography is 'almost' impossible to define, such is the diversity, splendour and multiplicity of his achievements over more than twenty years. Achieving international recognition in the late 1970s, Raúl Ruiz proved to be one of the most exciting and innovative filmmakers of his time, displaying more intellectual diversity and artistic experimentation than any filmmaker since Jean-Luc Godard.

Ruiz, after supporting the government of Salvador Allende, was forced to abandon his country during the fascist coup of 1973. Influenced by the fabulist tradition that runs through much of Latin American literature (Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges and Alfonso Reyes), Ruiz is a poet of fantastic images whose films slide effortlessly from the real to the imaginary and back again. A manipulator of wild and intellectual games in which the rules are always changing, Ruiz's techniques are as diverse as his films. In this cinematic Tower of Babel, where languages and forms go hand in hand, mixing, fighting or sometimes harmonising, we recognise the foundations of an organisation of images that favour the emergence of a different spectator. In the course of an extremely prolific career - more than 100 films made in 30 years - this jack-of-all-trades has worked on documentaries as well as fictional works, both for theatrical releases and for European television.

Admiration for the work of this master filmmaker also stems from the genius with which he accepts and implements, with commendable merit, cinematic challenges that seemed impossible to many. Three Lives and One Death, in which Marcello Mastroianni plays three characters at once, Genealogies of a Crime, which takes on a sulphurous news item, Time Regained, based on Proust's novel, which was deemed unsuitable, and The Mysteries of Lisbon, a whirlwind of soap operas lasting almost four and a half hours, are perfect illustrations. These films also underline the eminently accessible and popular aspect of Ruiz's cinema: in France, Le Temps retrouvé and Les Mystères de Lisbonne, despite their long running time, attracted more than 350,000 and 100,000 spectators respectively.

  • Berlin International Film Festival 1997

    Silver Bear

News about Genealogies of a Crime

Raúl Ruiz retrospective in four films - In theaters from August 7th

We propose in the heart of summer, from August 7, to rediscover jointly on the big screen Three Lives and Only One Death (1996), Genealogies of a Crime (1997), Time Regained (1999) et Mysteries of Lisbon (2010).

Press review

« Ruiz anime du même élan acteurs, dialogues et situations en un joyeux rallye où l’absurde et la logique, le banal et le loufoque se fondent en une étincelante comédie noire »

Le Monde

« Que faire du cinéma au bout d’un siècle ? Comment inventer de nouvelles histoires ? A ces questions qui se posent à tout art moderne, Ruiz apporte ses réponses de conteur baroque et compulsif : il ne trie pas, il garde tous les signes de l’ancien cinéma

Les Inrocks

« Ruiz montre ici qu’il est un Babélien du cinéma, dont il parle tous les idiomes, depuis la novlangue hollywoodienne jusqu’aux dialectes résistants »


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