A Pure Formality

A Pure Formality (Italian: Una pura formalità) is a 1994 Italian-French drama thriller film co-written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. It stars Gérard Depardieu as a reclusive writer and Roman Polanski as a police detective.

A Pure Formality
Una Pura formalità.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byGiuseppe Tornatore
Produced byBruno Altissimi
Mario Cecchi Gori
Vittorio Cecchi Gori
Jean-Louis Livi
Alexandre Mnouchkine
Claudio Saraceni
Written byGiuseppe Tornatore
Pascal Quignard
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyBlasco Giurato
Edited byGiuseppe Tornatore
Cecchi Gori Group Tiger Cinematografica
DD Productions
Film Par Film
Orly Films
TF1 Films Production
Distributed byAFMD (1994, France)
Penta Distribuzione (1994, Italy)
Release date
18 May 1994 (France)
12 January 1995 (Germany)
30 March 1995 (Spain)
Running time
108 minutes


Onoff (Depardieu) is a famous writer who is now a recluse. The Inspector (Polanski) is suspicious when Onoff is brought into the police station one night, disoriented and suffering from amnesia. As the head of an isolated, rural police station the Inspector tries to establish events through careful interrogation and deduction. Through his painstaking inquiries, he eventually clears up a mysterious killing and brings the writer to a new and unexpected realisation.



A Pure Formality was nominated for a Golden Palm at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.[1] It also received a David di Donatello for Best Production Design (Andrea Crisanti).

Several films share A Pure Formality's idea of the mystery of the living versus the dead, including The Sixth Sense (1999) by M. Night Shyamalan and The Others (2001) by Alejandro Amenábar.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: A Pure Formality". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-08-30.

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