|In the House movie poster|
|Esther sleeps while Claude voyeuristically writes about her feet. Women, he finds, are easier to admire when they’re asleep and can’t challenge him or make him feel inadequate.|
|Esther folding laundry, noticing Claude staring at her from a park bench.|
|Jeanne sits in bed contemplating the tale Claude weaves as well as the nature of the weaver himself.|
|Germain is horrified that Jeanne has invited the Artoles, as he’d prefer to imagine them as fictitious.|
Not only does Germain become completely unsympathetic to me in that moment, but the female characters are revealed to be little more than narrative devices. The ending of In the House makes it clear that the film was always and only about the relationship between Germain and Claude. As the two sit together on a bench bereft of everything but each other’s company and their stories, it becomes clear that the narrative was always about the power play between instructor and pupil. Other people were merely obstacles that stood between them to be maneuvered like chess pieces until these two men were on equal footing, a sort of stalemate with only the kings left standing on the board.
At first, I hoped the film was calling attention to the way that both Germain and Claude don’t really see the women in their lives, don’t allow them to be full human beings, but upon further analysis, it becomes apparent that the film itself only uses the female characters as convenient props to help elucidate the male narrative replete with its masculine struggles.