THE EAVESDROPPER / La Mécanique de l’ombre


North American Premiere • Thriller, Spy Movie • France, 2017

DCP • 2.35 • Dolby SR • Color • 93 min

Directed by: Thomas Kruithof

Written by: Thomas Kruithof, Yann Gozlan

Cinematography: Alex Lamarque

Film Editing: Jean-Baptiste Beaudoin

Original Score: Grégoire Auger

Produced by: Thibault Gast, Matthias Weber (2425 Films)

Cast: François Cluzet (Duval), Denis Podalydès (Clément), Sami Bouajila (Labarthe), Simon Abkarian (Gerfaut), Alba Rohrwacher (Sara)

International Sales: WTFilms


Cleverly evoking the era of analogue espionage while referencing more recent political events in France, this slow burning thriller takes a man wallowing on the outskirts of society and plunges him deep into the murky heart of power politics, high intrigue, and murder. François Cluzet plays Duval, former accountant, former alcoholic, current burnout with no job prospects. Desperate to get his life back on track, he accepts an unusual offer of employment. Everyday he is to come to a non-descript room, where he will transcribe cassette tapes of intercepted phone calls using an old typewriter. His mysterious employer Clément explains that this ensures that there will be no chance for the material to be digitally compromised. Most of the work is dehumanizing drudgery, but when the tapes reveal something Duval knows he shouldn’t know, he suddenly understands why he has been sworn to secrecy. It’s clear he’s a cog in someone’s machinations, but whose? As the walls begin to close in, Duval’s own paranoia is the only thing of which he can be certain.


One of a cadre of upcoming French directors taking their inspiration from the thriller genre, writer/director Thomas Kruithof displays a surprising flair for a freshman filmmaker who says film school consisted only of watching, reviewing and loving movies. Kruithof had a few false starts as a screenwriter before he became fascinated by the idea of writing a spy story from the point of view of the character that knows the least about the secret organization he’s part of. Although the far-right political subplot is timely, Kruithof took his inspiration from less recent events, such as the Lebanese hostage crisis of the 1980s. In addition to writing with collaborators Aurélie Valat and Marc Syrigas, Kruitoff developed the script with writer/director Yann Gozlan, known for his own throwback thriller, A Perfect Man (opening film COLCOA 2015).