© Plaion Pictures/Central

France/Belgium 2022

Opening 30 Mar 2023

Directed by: Patrice Leconte
Writing credits: Patrice Leconte, Georges Simenon, Jérôme Tonnerre
Principal actors: Gerard Depardieu, Jade Labeste, Mélanie Bernier, Aurore Clément, Hervé Pierre

Commissioner Jules Maigret (Gérard Depardieu) of Paris’s mobile crime unit is called in to investigate a young female victim (Clara Antoons). Although fashionably dressed and found in the elegant 9th arrondissement, she carries no identity papers, and no one know her. Maigret, swathed in a great dark coat and wide-brimmed hat, and his team steadfastly move from clue to clue determined to learn her identity. Dr. Paul’s (Hervé Pierre) autopsy sets up a timeline; doggedly following a thread to unravel the gown’s secret, Maigret’s rewarded with particularly fruitful results from the proprietor (Moanna Ferré) at a nearby salon; she directs him to Betty (Jade Labeste) whose resemblance to the deceased is uncanny. Eventually, Maigret will ask, and Betty indulges a reconstruction. Making Jeanine’s (Mélanie Bernier) acquaintance, and with admirable perseverance and a taxi driver’s (Alain Gueneau) lead, a link is established to Mme Clermont-Valois (Aurore Clément) and son Laurent (Pierre Moure). They knew the 20-year-old fatality. Mme Maigret (Anne Loiret) soothes her quietly grim, focused husband as he probes and prods into the why/what’s delving deeper into unraveling the enigmatical quandary.

Director Patrice Leconte’s interpretation of the prolific Belgian author Georges Simenon’s renowned sleuth Jules Maigret is very atmospheric and enticing. It was Simenon’s 1930 Pietr-le-Letton (Pietr the Latvian) where Maigret emerged fully. Leconte’s adaptation, co-written with Jérôme Tonnerre, is based on the 1954 novel Maigret et la jeune morte. Depardieu, with his bulk, slow movements, and nuanced head and facial movements is the embodiment of Maigret, the detective whose power to snag suspects lies in his mind, rather than movements, because of his ability to psychologically outthink and outmaneuver even the cleverest criminal. Cloaked in Bruno Coulais’s music, cinematographer Yves Angelo, editor Joëlle Hache, and Loïc Chavanon’s production design create the evocative and vividness of Paris during that era. For a refreshing noirish encounter treat yourself to the experience of solving a case with the great Maigret. (Marinell Haegelin)

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