Belphégor Critique

Belphégor, ou Le Fantôm du Louvre (Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre) is a mini series directed by Claude Barma in 1965 based on Arthur Bernède's 1927 novel of the same name. It follows the story of a mysterious 'ghost' appearing in the Louvre at night, and the people around it who try to solve the mystery. The main characters are Yves Rénier as André Bellegarde, Christine Delaroche as Colette Ménardier, René Dary as Commissioner Ménardier, as well as Juliette Gréco as Laurence. André is a young university student, who, interested with the mystery of the ghost, takes it upon himself to lead his own little investigation. Colette is the commissioner's daughter, and she finds herself in love with André. As for the commissioner, he is the head of the official investigation, given the fact that there was a murder, presumably done by Belphégor. As for Laurence, she is that femme fatale who gets involved with André, but we learn almost from the get-go that she is also connected to the whole ghost shindig.

I liked this miniseries, but there were quite a few things that bugged me. The first was the characters. It seemed like they were very deep and comprehensive, but their personalities were only brushed upon. Colette seemed too much in love too fast, and André just annoyed the hell out of me. I couldn't understand why Colette would want to marry and protect and rescue such a jerk as André, for really, that's what he is, a jerk. He tells Colette he likes her, then runs off to get news from Laurence. And the exact same happened when he was with Laurence. He tells Laurence he loves her, then calls her a deceiving liar, and runs off to Colette. I seriously did not understand, nor like him. Laurence herself was also enigmatic, but less so. I couldn't quite understand her either, in fact, I didn't understand most of the characters, except Gautrais, the poor nightguard who gets sucked up in the adventure when he is the first to see the ghost.

On another point, I didn't understand why everyone still referred to Belphegor as a ghost, as it was obvious that it wasn't anymore, just a mysterious murderer in a mask and cloak, with only the mode of entry into the Louvre being ghost-like.

Spoiler Alert

 

Overall, it was a good thriller, but not just something to watch casually. It is very serious, not without comic relief of course, but serious in the sense that the story is intense, as are the characters. Watch at your own risk!

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