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Thursday, April 25

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France/Italy, 1972
Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
With Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Richard Crenna
In French with English subtitles
Approx. 98 min. DCP.

Piano-playing Alain Delon and nightclub owner Richard Crenna (U.S. TV star and Rambo’s mentor) both love Catherine Deneuve — only trouble is, one’s a post-burn-out cop and the other’s bent on the heist of a lifetime. Melville’s final work features iconic minimalist performances from the star trio and two trademark heists, the first a near-wordless bank job on a deserted, bleakly rain-sodden seaside street.


“A supremely entertaining last work!”
– David Robinson, The Times (London)

“Chilling perfection! The opening bank robbery (pale Hokusai lighting, blue sleekness and seaside melancholy, trench coats, masks) [distills] an entire oeuvre… Everything points to the disintegration of Melville’s loyalty motif, honor all but evaporated from both sides of the game.”
– Fernando F. Croce

“Delon is at home in the shadowy underworld of dubious nightclubs and shady hotels, has an easy way with gangsters’ molls, is quick on the trigger and given to beating up suspects when they are dragged to headquarters. Who can resist him with his world-weary nonchalance and his incipient brutality? He is a hero of our times.”
– Thomas Quinn Curtis, International Herald-Tribune

“The cold restraint with which Melville films the opening bank robbery and the central heist suggests emotion with an exquisite subtlety that borders on hysterical repression — and Delon, with his ice-blue eyes and mask-like stillness, serves the director’s purposes perfectly, as does Deneuve, who, as a platinum princess playing on both sides of the law, gives away nothing, either to her two men or to the camera. Melville’s vision of modern-day corruption, which he kept in check under the regime of Charles de Gaulle (whom Melville had served in the French Resistance), was evidently liberated by de Gaulle’s death, in 1970; here, Melville’s chilly manner turns sardonic as he vents pent-up bile.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

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