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[spoiler]Well.. Your final impression of the movie is already totally different than mine. Claude wasn't necessarily manipulating the teacher for the sake of his benefit. Everything converges to the fact that Claude is writer. Writers are, pretty much, voyeurs. After all, a story is narrated by a point of view - even if in first person or third person, even if it's based in something real or not. Germain was part of Claude's life and story since the beginning. But why couldn't he finish the story? Because, if you recall, he always said that he needed to be inside of the house to tell the story. And that was what was missing from his story: Germain's house. Besides, he sleeping with Jeanne... It's not concrete. It's a conclusion that Germain got, but it is never implied if it really happened or not.[spoiler]Claude turning out to be only manipulating the teacher to his benefit was implied from the moment the "fiction" started to dilude with the "reality". The way the movie was constructed led me, at least, to believe it was keeping one last surprise to the end - and it delivered what the story initially suggested, instead. Him sleeping with the wife was indeed unexpected but the whole context of the ending was a concretization of a something I already saw coming. Of course a movie delivering what its story was initially set out to be isn't bad, but taking the nature of the film into consideration, I wasn't completely satisfied. [/spoiler]