Menu Film Forum
Part of the series
PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

LE CERCLE ROUGE

4:40

Sunday, May 7

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

Starring Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Gian Maria Volontè and Bourvil

(1970) Impassive faces, snap-brim hats, dangling cigarettes, sunglasses after dark, raincoats without rain… We’re unmistakably in the milieu of Melville, here bringing together four archetypal tough guys for their appointment with destiny: prisoner-in-transit Gian Maria Volontè; relentless inspector Bourvil; DT-plagued ex-cop Yves Montand; and super-cool Alain Delon, all joining forces for a meticulously-orchestrated jewel heist. DCP restoration. Approx. 140 min.

Reviews

“The closest Jean-Pierre Melville got to his ideal, a mix of Jacques Becker’s Le Trou and Bresson’s Pickpocket, a blue-gray nocturnal reconnoitering of the flimsy chains keeping men in their place… Melville’s finest work of post-war privateering... revels in the silent concentration, the unyielding focus of lost boys out to reshape a changing landscape of cops, robbers and cowards into the perfect symmetrical object they know it could be.”
– Scout Tafoya, Brooklyn Magazine

“An existentialist noir painted with the cold hues of grey, blue and green where the only warm touch is the red of blood, of death. Dialogues are reduced to a minimum as Melville displays his iconographic mastery throughout having condensed noir into an immanent palette where images are more expressive words.”
– Mubi

“The kind of experience that makes you glad movies exist.”
– A.O. Scott, The New York Times

“A virtuoso display of the geometry of movie action.”
– The New Yorker

“Choreographed like a bullfight with Delon the matador in white gloves and full-face mask.”
– J. Hoberman

“Only Melville could recreate this strange universe of unreal images, of misty landscapes.”
– Jean Tulard, Guide des Films

“Darker, more abstract and desolate than his earlier work, this shows, set piece by set piece, the breakdown of the criminal code under which Melville’s characters had previously operated.” 
– Time Out (London)

“A digest of all the thriller-type films I have made.”
– Jean-Pierre Melville