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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a 2006 period psychological thriller film directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Ben Whishaw, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood, and Dustin Hoffman. Tykwer, with Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, also composed the music. The screenplay, by Tykwer, Andrew Birkin and Bernd Eichinger, is based on Patrick Süskind's 1985 novel Perfume. Set in 18th century France, the film tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Whishaw), an olfactory genius, and his homicidal quest for the perfect scent.

Plot

The film begins with the sentencing of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw), a notorious murderer. Between the reading of the sentence and the execution, the story of his life is told in flashback, beginning with his abandonment at birth in a French fish market. Raised in an orphanage, Grenouille grows into a strangely detached boy with a superhuman sense of smell. After growing to maturity as a tanner's apprentice, he makes his first delivery to Paris, where he revels in all the new scents. He focuses on a redheaded girl (Karoline Herfurth) selling yellow plums, following her and repeatedly attempting to sniff her, but startles her with his behavior. To prevent her from crying out, he covers the girl's mouth and unintentionally suffocates her. After realizing that she is dead, he strips her body naked and smells her all over, becoming distraught when her scent fades. Afterwards, Grenouille is haunted by the desire to recreate the girl's aroma.

Awards