A Pure Formality

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A Pure Formality
DVD cover
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
Produced by Bruno Altissimi
Mario Cecchi Gori
Vittorio Cecchi Gori
Jean-Louis Livi
Alexandre Mnouchkine
Claudio Saraceni
Written by Giuseppe Tornatore
Pascal Quignard
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Roman Polanski
Sergio Rubini
Tano Cimarosa
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Blasco Giurato
Edited by Giuseppe Tornatore
Cecchi Gori Group Tiger Cinematografica
DD Productions
Film Par Film
Orly Films
TF1 Films Production
Distributed by AFMD (1994, France)
Penta Distribuzione (1994, Italy)
Release dates
18 May 1994 (France)
12 January 1995 (Germany)
30 March 1995 (Spain)
Running time
108 minutes
Country Italy
Language French

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.


Onoff (Depardieu) is a famous writer who is now a recluse. The Inspector (Polanski) is suspicious when Onoff is brought into the station one night, disoriented and suffering a kind of amnesia. As the head of an isolated, rural police station the Inspector tries to establish events through careful interrogation and deduction. By painstaking inquiry, he clears up a mysterious killing and brings the writer a new and strange 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 are inspired by A Pure Formality's idea (1994) of the mystery of the living versus the dead. The best[citation needed] example is The Sixth Sense (1999) by M. Night Shyamalan, another is The Others (2001) by Alejandro Amenábar.


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

External links