Crime

Jean Grémillon – L’Étrange Monsieur Victor AKA Strange M. Victor (1938)

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Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote this :

In his finest work, including this masterful 1938 noir, the remarkable French filmmaker Jean Gremillon (1901-1959), trained as a composer and musician, used mise en scene, script construction, editing, and dialogue delivery to explore the complex relationship between film and music.

Raimu, one of the greatest French actors, plays the “strange” title hero, a respectable Toulon merchant who secretly operates as a fence for local thieves; after he murders a potential blackmailer, an innocent local shoemaker (Pierre Blanchar) is sent to prison for his crime.

Seven years later the fall guy escapes, returns to Toulon to see his son, and, unaware of Victor’s guilt, persuades the merchant to shelter him, then becomes involved with his wife.
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Anh Hung Tran – Xich lo AKA Cyclo (1995)

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A “cyclo” is a bicycle-drawn taxi similar to a rickshaw, and, in this story, the nickname of an 18-year-old boy trying to scrape together a living in the desperate poverty of Ho Chi Mihn City. Cyclo lives with his grandfather (Le Kinh Huy) and two sisters (Tran Nu Yen-Khe and Pham Ngoc Lieu), and drives his taxi for a bitter woman (Nhu Quynh Nguyen) who devotes most of her time to her mentally unstable son (Bjuhoang Huy). When the pedal-cab is stolen, Cyclo is forced into a life of crime to repay the debt and falls in with a group of petty thugs led by a self-styled poet (Tony Leung Chiu Wai). What Cyclo doesn’t know at first is that the poet is also a pimp, and he’s been using his romantic wiles to lure Cyclo’s older sister into a career as a prostitute. Cyclo was directed by Tran Anh Hung, whose breakthrough film was the acclaimed drama The Scent of Green Papaya.

— Mark Deming, All Movie Guide Read More »

Darezhan Omirbayev – Tueur à gages AKA Killer (1998)

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Quote:
Darezhan Omirbaev (Kairat, Kardiogramma) directed this French-Kazakh film about a young man driven to the precipice in an uncaring world. Marat (Talgat Assetov) works as a chauffeur for a well-known scientist. Driving home from the maternity hospital with his wife Aijan (Roksana Abouova) and their new baby boy, Marat is at fault during a minor traffic accident. The damage payments on both cars put him in debt. Unable to cover costs when the baby gets sick, Marat finds it necessary to follow a gangster’s bidding to murder a journalist. Shown in the Certain Regard Section at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival. Read More »

Jesus Franco – Rote Lippen, Sadisterotica aka Two Undercover Lovers [+Extras] (1969)

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“Red Lips” are two female detectives trying to find missing models and dancers. A pop artist called Klaus Thriller and his werewolf-like assistant, Morpho, are the main suspects for the murderers.

‘Sadisterotica’ (fantastic title!) isn’t really your typical Jess Franco movie. Released in the same year as his classic ‘Succubus’, it doesn’t consist of his usual blend of eroticism and horror, it is instead a campy detective comedy/thriller in the vein of ‘Modesty Blaise’ or Mario Bava’s ‘Diabolik’. Fans of Matt Helm and Austin Powers will dig it. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – Un Flic aka Dirty Money [+Extras] (1972)

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Plot Summary :

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Simon (Richard Crenna) is an ace criminal with no respect for the law, he feels he can overcome it at will and so far, he has been able to. He leads three other men in a bank robbery in a small town and of course, Simon has it planned to the second. Even when one of the men is wounded, the plan unfolds on time and the four men escape with ease, as well as a whole lot of cash, of course. The men then bury the stash of money in a remote location, as it is just part of a larger plan, with a much larger payoff.

Simon has great skills to be sure, but he still has to keep an eye out for the authorities, including his good friend Coleman (Alain Delon). Coleman happens to be a detective as well as Simon’s friend, so of course, it makes for a most unusual friendship, to say the least. As Simon prepares his grandest scheme ever and Coleman tries to remain true to his oath as a police officer, a woman (Catherine Denueve) comes into the picture and of course, both men fall head over heels for her. As time closes in on the massive operation, what will happen to this most odd collection of people? Read More »

Elia Kazan – Boomerang! [+Extras] (1947)

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Quote:
Boomerang, directed by Elia Kazan, is a chilling film noir, the true story about the murder of a priest, the subsequent arrest and trial of a jobless drifter, and the efforts of young state’s attorney Henry Harvey (Dana Andrews) to uncover the truth. Closely based on the actual 1924 murder of Fr. Hubert Dahme in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the film was directed by the young Elia Kazan in a highly effective, semi-documentary style. Kazan shot most of the film on location, using high-contrast cinematography and an extremely mobile camera to create a palpable sense of urgency. The screenplay, expertly crafted by Richard Murphy received an Academy Award nomination. Read More »

Andrew L. Stone – The Steel Trap (1952)

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Plot:
A Bank officer discovers a flaw in the U.S. extradition treaty with Brazil and decides to take advantage of it. On Friday, he steals a million dollars from the bank, knowing it won’t be missed until the bank opens on the following Monday.
He and his wife, who doesn’t know what he has done, then take a flight to Brazil. After some difficulties, they get as far as New Orleans, where his wife discovers the reason for their flight and what he has done. She leaves him and returns home. He is now alone with his conscience, and doesn’t know if he can get back and return the money to the bank’s vault before the start of business on Monday. Read More »