Jean-Pierre Melville

Jean-Pierre Melville – Le Cercle Rouge AKA The Red Circle (1970)

Synopsis:
Master thief Corey (Alain Delon) is fresh out of prison. But instead of toeing the line of law-abiding freedom, he finds his steps leading back to the shadowy world of crime, crossing those of a notorious escapee (Gian Maria Volonté) and alcoholic ex-cop (Yves Montand). As the unlikely trio plots a heist against impossible odds, their trail is pursued by a relentless inspector (Bourvil), and fate seals their destinies. Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge combines honorable anti-heroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces to create a masterpiece of crime cinema. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – Le deuxième souffle (1966)

Veteran gangster Gustave (Lino Ventura) escapes from prison to find his sister is being blackmailed by some petty thugs in this crime thriller. He plans one last caper to steal enough money in hopes of retiring to a tropical paradise. He and his gang are sought by a detective (Paul Meurisse), the cop who plays by the book and avoids the sadistic torture practiced by his less-honorable cohorts. Soon Gustave is caught between the police and the double-crossing gangsters and discovers too late that there is no honor among thieves. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – 24 heures de la vie d’un clown AKA A Day in the Life of a Clown (1946)

A day in the life of Beby the clown. Filmed between shows at Circus Medrano, at home and in the streets of Paris, with his faithful partner and friend the clown Maïss. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – Léon Morin, prêtre (1961)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Jean-Paul Belmondo delivers a subtly sensual performance in the hot-under-the-collar Léon Morin, Priest (Léon Morin, prêtre), directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. The French superstar plays a devoted man of the cloth who is desired by all the women of a small village in Nazi-occupied France. He finds himself most drawn to a sexually frustrated widow—played by Emmanuelle Riva—a religious skeptic whose relationship with her confessor turns into a confrontation with both God and her own repressed desire. A triumph of mood, setting, and innuendo, Léon Morin, Priest is an irreverent pleasure from one of French cinema’s towering virtuosos. (Criterion) Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – Bob le flambeur (1956)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Bob, a middle-aged gambler and thief, plans a complicated heist. He deals with a number of underworld characters while planning the robbery of the Deauville Casino. Bob eventually hires a gang that includes an ace safecracker. Unfortunately for them, Bob’s nemesis, an old cop who Bob once saved from death, is tipped off after a money-hungry croupier’s wife betrays them. The police are waiting when the gang begins the seemingly impossible task of robbing the casino vault. Meanwhile in the casino, Bob starts to gamble. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – L’Armée des ombres AKA Army of Shadows [+Extras] (1969)

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Review:

The defiantly independent French director Jean-Pierre Melville was an outsider by choice. He financed his films outside of the studio system and built his own studio for maximum independence. He loved American cinema and made his reputation with a brilliant series of cool gangster thrillers, beginning with elegant, elegiac Bob le Flambeur (1955) and culminating in the austere masterpiece Le Samourai (1967), with Alain Delon as an existential assassin, and the heist classic Le Cercle Rouge (1970).

Army of Shadows, adapted from the 1943 novel by Joseph Kessel about the early years of the French Resistance, is the third of Melville’s three dramas set during the Nazi occupation of France in World War II (after his debut feature, La Silence de la Mer [1949], and his 1961 drama Leon Morin, Priest), but by far his most personal. During World War II, Melville was himself a member of the Resistance, worked for French intelligence in London, and served in the Free French forces in the liberation of Italy and France. “This is my first movie showing things I’ve actually known and experienced,” Melville told Rui Nogueria in Nogueria’s 1971 interview book with the director. Kessler’s book is a work of fiction, but the characters were inspired by real life figures. Read More »

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

29f7c043f76a2bde437fd0d52a185152

Plot Summary :

Quote:
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 »