With Mr. Klein, director Joseph Losey succeeds in creating a strange and troubling film set during the Occupation and the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup. Alain Delon plays Robert Klein, a rich and seductive Alsatian in his forties who buys works of art from struggling Jews at bargain prices. When he receives forwarded to his name “Les Informations Juives”, a newspaper delivered only by subscription, he realizes that a Jew with the same name is using his identity to engage in mysterious activities. Determined to hunt down his double, he follows a trail that will lead him to this unknown person.
At a time when Alain Delon continuously portrayed cops or crooks, the subtle role of Mr. Klein, a man bereft of his identity, marks a turning point in his career. “There is so much of me in this film. My love of artwork, this ambiguous relationship with people, this kind of game in which I’m Mr. Klein without knowing why,” states the actor, who also produced Mr. Klein.
A project rejected multiple times due to its incendiary subject, Mr. Klein ended up establishing itself as a cinema classic and the greatest film ever made about the Occupation. Presented for the first time in 1976 at the Festival de Cannes, the film also won the César Awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Production Design.