The Color of Lies

The Color of Lies (French: Au cœur du mensonge) is a 1999 psychological mystery film co-written and directed by Claude Chabrol. The film was entered into the 49th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]

The Color of Lies
DVD cover
Directed byClaude Chabrol
Produced byMarin Karmitz
Screenplay byClaude Chabrol
Odile Barski
StarringSandrine Bonnaire
Jacques Gamblin
Music byMatthieu Chabrol
CinematographyEduardo Serra
Edited byMonique Fardoulis
Canal Diffusion
France 2 Cinéma
MK2 Productions
Distributed byMK2 Diffusion
Release date
  • 13 January 1999 (1999-01-13)
Running time
111 minutes
Box office$111,143 (USA)


In a small town in Brittany, a 10-year-old girl is found murdered. The last person to see her alive was her art teacher and professional artist René (Gamblin). He soon becomes the primary suspect in the murder investigation spearheded by the new chief of police Frédérique Lesage (Bruni-Tedeschi), which destroys his life as people in the small town believe that he is the killer although there is no hard evidence. René is completely dedicated to his wife (Bonnaire), a nurse whose perpetual happy mood is the polar opposite of his personality. Meanwhile, Frederique becomes better acquainted with the eccentric residents of the town, including an arrogant television journalist (de Caunes), a small-time crook who fences stolen goods (Marlot), and a bizarre pair of married shopkeepers (Ogier and Simsolo).

Principal cast

Sandrine BonnaireVivianne Sterne
Jacques GamblinRené Sterne
Antoine de CaunesGermain-Roland Desmot
Valeria Bruni TedeschiFrédérique Lesage
Bernard VerleyInspector Loudun
Bulle OgierÉvelyne Bordier
Pierre MartotRegis Marchal
Adrienne PaulyAnna
Thomas ChabrolThe medical examiner

Critical reception

The film received favorable reviews.


“A delicious sense of suspense haunts Claude Chabrol's latest character-study-cum-whodunit... which ranks just behind the excellent “La ceremonie” among the veteran helmer’s work this decade."[2]

Michael Thomson of BBC Films:

Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice:

Christopher Null of gave the film a good review but had only one issue of contention:


  1. "Berlinale: 1999 Programme". Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  2. Lisa Nesselson (1999-01-15). "The Color of Lies". Variety. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
  3. Michael Thomson Updated 16 July 2001 (2001-07-16). "Films - review - The Colour of Lies (Au Coeur du Mensonge)". BBC. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
  4. Michael Atkinson (2005-08-02). "Crime Scene Investigations From an Aging New Waver - Page 1 - Screens - New York". Village Voice. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
  5. "The Color of Lies - Movie Review". Retrieved 2011-08-18.
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