Female frontal nudity, promiscuity, sexual fondling, and prostitution; murder; and, a few obscenities
An agitated man photographs a young girl’s corpse. His emotional state suggests a personal involvement, but the man is a police inspector investigating the murder. Later, he interrogates a tailor, Monsieur Hire, a misanthropic hermit whose dark clothing and parchment pallor arouse the viewer’s suspicions.
Nasty, antisocial, despised by his neighbors, he is the prime suspect in the murder. Night after night, while listening to Brahms, he stands at his window staring across the courtyard at his beautiful neighbor Alice, watching her undress and make love to her callow boyfriend, Emile. Through his voyeuristic obsession, however, he comes to know more than he should about the dead woman.
When the flash from a bolt of lightening alerts them to his voyeurism, Alice startles him by reciprocating his attention. Later, she stages an encounter with Hire and takes steps to seduce him, meeting on the roof of a church in one instance.
Hire knows that Emile is the murderer, but, because of his love for Alice, he does not go to the police. Emile, meanwhile, has fled. Torn between her two lovers, Alice frames Hire, who slips and falls to his death as the authorities pursue him.
MONSIEUR HIRE is a sensual, carnal film. The emphasis is not on nudity but on the senses, sight, smell and touch, where one can almost feel the character’s skin. Furthermore, Hire’s romantic obsession with Alice stems from a dreamlike, surrealistic kind of love that is the result of a smitten heart.
This is not the kind of love God extols, the kind which can be found in Philippians 1:9: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more [real love requires growth and maturity] in knowledge [the way love grows] and depth of insight [practical discernment and sensitivity], so that you may able to discern what is best….”
Christian love, then, is not mere sentiment nor emotion; it is rooted in knowledge and understanding. These film makers, however, prefer to wallow in existentialism. Therefore, avoid MONSIEUR HIRE.