|Alain Delon, Le Cercle Rouge|
The film is Le Cercle Rouge/ Red Circle made in 1970.
"In his penultimate film, Melville’s criminal world has never been so seductive and intoxicating, its extended silent jewel heist one of the most finely calibrated sequences in all cinema from anywhere.” Al Clark, producer of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and executive producer of Chopper .
A man is released from a 5-year prison term on the same day a convicted murderer escapes from a train. The two men’s paths cross and, together with an alcoholic ex-cop, they plan the perfect heist (an astonishing, completely wordless 30-minute masterstroke). This was Melville’s biggest commercial success in France and perhaps his most perfectly realised crime film. The flawless cast features a set of quintessential Melvillian trench coated anti-heroes played by Alain Delon, Yves Montand and Gian Maria Volonté.
The 4K restoration of LE CERCLE ROUGE was done by StudioCanal and the French Centre national de Cinema from the original negative. The magnificent restoration was premiered at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna and screened as part of the 2020 selection of Venezia Classici/ Venice Classics. Venice director Alberto Barbera, when writing about the classic restorations strand, called it “the fantastic French heist thriller”.
The Bologna catalogue note by Roberto Chiesi stated: “As is always the case in the great French director’s films, the clichés of a heist caper unravel into a melancholic meditation on the randomness, futility and solitude that characterise the human condition….It was Melville’s greatest box-office success, both in France and abroad, and it inspired many film-makers of the following generations…”
Melville’s moody, epic love letter to gangster cinema (not to mention cold masculinity) details the nuts and bolts of a heist with brilliant precision, but it’s also a poetic exploration of Melville’s obsession with the business of busy-ness, working, his “opocentricity”. A major influence on filmmakers like Tarantino and John Woo, (re)discover this French classic on the big screen and immerse yourself in the Buddha’s “red circle”. Ben Cho, Australian film director
“A twisting, inventive gangster caper from Jean-Pierre Melville. The most satisfyingly pure storytelling of his career." (Quote from Lee Server “The Big Book of Noir” )
If you would like to know about Melville, tune in to this week's episode of The Screen Show hosted by Jason DiRosso on ABC Radio National at 10.00 am on Thursday 1 October when Jason will discuss the great man's cinema with Associate Professor Adrian Danks of the School of Media & Communication RMIT University and Co-curator of the Melbourne Cinematheque and with Dr Jane Mills Associate Professor School of the Arts & Media, UNSW. Jane will also be doing the introduction to Le Cercle Rouge at the Ritz screening. The show will be available as a podcast so if you miss it you can catch up by visiting the show's webpage
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|Jean-Pierre Melville (centre) and the stars of|
The Red Circle
Francois Perier, Andre Bourvil, Yves Montand,