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Monday, July 25

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo

(1962) A noir masterpiece from the late Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Samourai, Bob Le Flambeur), spiritual Father of the French New Wave, this drama of trust and betrayal was the second of his three straight collaborations with Jean-Paul Belmondo, and the first of his last great series of studiously unrealistic gangster thrillers.  The telephone booths, subways, bar, sash-windows, and police super’s office—all loving reproductions of classic American originals—create a strange Paris underworld that’s Melville’s own. In French criminal argot, doulos means a hat, as well as the stoolpigeon who wears it, and whether Belmondo is or isn’t remains a question mark until the very last minute of the picture.  (Belmondo supposedly didn’t know himself until he saw the film).  Impeccably photographed in black & white by Nicolas Hayer (who’d shot Cocteau’s Orphée), Le Doulos also features assistant director Volker Schlondorff in a bit part, sterling performances by Serge Reggiani (Army of Shadows), Michel Piccoli, and Jean Dessailly, and an incredible 9-minute, 360˚ pan shot in a room full of reflecting glass. In French, with English subtitles. 35mm. Approx. 108 mins.


“RIVETING! Worth seeking out.”
– Time Out

– David Sterritt

“A TRICKY, ATTITUDE-DRENCHED THRILLER! The melancholy action is scored to cool virbaphone doodles, punctuated by the ceremonial display of key totems (trenchcoats, cigarettes, revolvers) and interspersed with sudden spasms of violence: there are eight fatal shootings, six of them point blank.  Melville was not just a father figure of the French new wave, he was ascetic warrior priest...this odd mix of Warner Brothers and Rossellini has a forceful, adolescent lyricism.”
– J. Hoberman. Village Voice

“There are two grand reasons to see Le Doulos: first, Jean-Paul Belmondo steals every scene, whether he is slapping around a beautiful blonde or shooting it out with a gang of thugs.  Second, the late Jean-Pierre Melville, who uses ingenious camera tricks and très noir atmosphere... Belmondo’s dazzling double-gun trick is worth the price of admission alone...”
– V.A. Musetto, New York Post

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