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Thursday, May 4

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

(1955) Through the night streets of Montmartre saunters silver-haired Roger Duchesne’s Bob Montaigne, ex-gangster and flambeur (high roller, or compulsive gambler), moving from poker to craps to the track to roulette to baccarat and back, on the way to his last and greatest heist: the casino at Deauville.  Homaged twice in Breathless and considered “the cinematic birth of cool” (J. Hoberman). 35mm. Approx. 98 min.


“Before the New Wave, before Godard and Truffaut and Chabrol, before Belmondo flicked the cigarette into his mouth in one smooth motion and walked the streets of Paris like a Hollywood gangster, there was Bob. ‘Bob le Flambeur,’ Bob the high-roller, Bob the Montmartre legend whose style was so cool, whose honor was so strong, whose gambling was so hopeless, that even the cops liked him.”
– Roger Ebert 

“A flambeur is a gambler, and Bob cannot pass by a game without sizing up the odds or joining in. Open a closet door in his apartment and you find a slot machine, for his personal use. Like Dracula, he sleeps by day and comes alive at night, craving the blood of a bet. That is why the movie begins in the ravishing sorrow of dawn, in Montmartre and Pigalle, with the street lamps going off.”
– Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

“Far ahead of its time.”
– Andrew Sarris

Film Forum