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LE TROU

DAILY (except SUN)
1:00   4:00   7:00   9:40
SUN  2:50   5:30   8:10

Wednesday, June 28 - Tuesday, July 4

DIRECTED BY JACQUES BECKER

NEW 4K RESTORATION

“A MASTERPIECE… AND I WEIGH MY WORDS CAREFULLY: THE GREATEST FRENCH FILM OF ALL TIME!”
– Jean-Pierre Melville (See below for Melville’s full statement.)

(1960) “Pauvre Gaspard.” A car mechanic tells us this is his story: too-sensitive-looking Marc Michel is ushered into a prison cell, where four wary-looking cons (including the mechanic as himself) tell him he’s looking at ten years hard labor. Then, when they abruptly take the first step toward a breakout, pounding away at a corner of the cell with a makeshift tool, a relentless and riveting “cinema of process” begins, culminating in a 4-minute take with three of the four cons taking turns at whacking away at a tunnel to freedom. Renoir protégé Becker, previously director of the charming “Paris” trilogy (Antoine and Antoinette, Rendez-vous in July, Edward and Caroline) and of primo gangster films, both period (Casque d’or) and modern (Touchez pas au Grisbi), determined to make a super-realistic treatment after reading newspaper accounts of the actual 1947 prison break, later teaming with ex-con and Série Noir icon José Giovanni, who wrote his own novel on the case, and three of the survivors. A powerful statement of teamwork, loyalty and betrayal, told with nerve-shredding suspense and capped by the most startling turn of the “periscope” in film history, The Hole (the title’s literal translation) was rhapsodized over by contemporary critics, but haunted by the death of 53-year-old Becker at the time of its release. New 4K DCP restoration. Approx. 131 minutes.

A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE

Reviews

“He was fifty-two when his mastery, his maturity, allowed him to make a tremendous film, in which all the essential aspects of man would be dealt with: dignity, courage, fraternity, intelligence, nobility, respect and shame. There are only two frameworks for such an adventure: war and prison - I apologize to the ladies (whom I like very much) - because, in these two circumstances only, man is without woman, even though he thinks of her incessantly and can only surpass himself apart from his desires, his libido and his complexes. [...] How many pages would it take to enumerate the wonders of this masterpiece, of this film that I consider - and here I weigh my words carefully – as the greatest French film of all time?”
– Jean-Pierre Melville 

“THROBS WITH EXCITEMENT AND SUSPENSE!”
– The New York Times

“ALMOST UNBEARABLY REAL!”
­– The New Yorker

“TAUT, BONE-BARE, AGONIZINGLY SUSPENSEFUL AND FLAWLESSLY ACTED! The drama hurtles toward a shock climax that suddenly becomes less a saga of physical endurance than a test of one man’s moral strength… As a movie about prison life it is authentic; La Santé’s guards are not brutes, they are merely inhumanly efficient machines, trained to perform surgery on a food parcel, to count skulls in the numbered cubicles where prisoners contemplate their anonymity. Le Trou deepens the adventure of an underground escape route by saying that a man can scrape, scratch, hammer and claw his way to freedom from everything but himself.”
– TIME

“People have often gently mocked Becker’s manias, his infinite scruples when shooting... what some took to be a fault finds here its end, its triumph. Hardwood floorboards, grains of plaster, stones, cobblestones, bars, locks are to be lifted, scratched, worked on, unsealed, sawed, forced open without cheating, without ellipsis, without tricks, without easy dissolves… out of this extraordinary ‘analysis’ is continually born the rhythm, the anxiety, the suspense, the passion.” ­
– Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Cahiers du Cinéma

THE ART OF SUBTITLING

6:10

Monday, June 26