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Series Compiled by: Chris D., Gwen Deglise and Axelle Fossorier.
Special Thanks to: TAMASA; MAE; ROISSY FILMS; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS.; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; GAUMONT; Amy Lewin/MGM Repertory; Costa-Gavras; Emily Horn & Barry Allen/PARAMOUNT.

 

SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

 

 

All guests are subject to availability. The Cinematheque will offer a refund due to guest cancellations only IF the refund transaction is complete PRIOR to the start of the show.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $10 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< October 19 - 28,  2007 >>>

Crooks In Clover: Noir, French Style

Presented in association with Ile de France Film Commission, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, France and the French Film and TV office of the French Consulate.

With the sponsorship of Agnes B.

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Discuss this series with other film fans on:
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This is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

Since we presented our tribute to the maestro of French noir, Jean-Pierre Melville in 1996 and then our Melville and The French Crime Film series in 1998, Melville-mania has swept the US (with re-releases of BOB LE FLAMBEUR, LE CERCLE ROUGE and, most recently, LE DOULOS by Rialto Films). We’ve also seen rediscovery of other French crime gems like Claude Sautet’s CLASSE TOUS RISQUES and Jacques Becker’s GRISBI and LE TROU. As any fan of French noir cinema knows, Melville was not alone in re-inventing the crime film (or policier) in French terms – filmmakers Becker, Sautet, Godard, Jacques Deray (BORSALINO; THE SWIMMING POOL; THE OUTSIDE MAN), Alain Corneau (POLICE PYTHON 357; CHOICE OF ARMS; SERIE NOIRE), Georges Lautner (CROOKS IN CLOVER), Rene Clement (JOY HOUSE; PURPLE NOON), to name only a select few, filtered their love of American gangster and noir movies through a gauze of silence and mystery, the unforgettable rugged beauty of actors like Alain Delon, Lino Ventura, Yves Montand, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Gerard Philipe, and the feline grace of such actresses as Romy Schneider, Catherine Denueve, Simone Signoret, Stephane Audran, Jane Fonda, Isabelle Adjani, et. al. Another enormous influence was publisher Marcel Duhamel’s line of Serie Noire novels by Jim Thompson, David Goodis and others – that, and the home-grown, French crime fiction of writers like Jose Giovanni, Sebastien Japrisot, Auguste Le Breton, et. al. Like the American West Coast jazz scene of the 1950’s, the French crime film was the very definition of "cool" – a quicksilver world of silent killers and speeding Citroens. Join us for two spellbinding weeks of mystery and murder with the French masters, including very hard-to-see gems like Costa-Gavras’ ultra-rare debut film, THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER, Claude Chabrol’s THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS, Melville’s SECOND BREATH, Deray’s THE SWIMMING POOL, Corneau’s SERIE NOIRE and CHOICE OF ARMS, Yves Allegret’s RIPTIDE and more!

 

 

Friday, October 19 –7:30 PM

Alain Delon Double Feature:

THE SWIMMING POOL (LA PISCINE), 1969, SNC, 120 min. One of the best efforts and hardest-to-see (in America) from director Jacques Deray (BORSALINO; THE OUTSIDE MAN), with a trenchant script co-written by Bu˝uel colaborator, Jean-Claude Carriere. Writer Jean-Paul (Alain Delon) and journalist Marianne (Romy Schneider) are having an affair in St. Tropez when interrupted by a visit from Marianne’s former lover, Harry (Maurice Ronet). Harry has also brought along his fatally attractive daughter, Penelope (Jane Birkin). Hormones rage and sparks fly, and one of the four ends up dead, accidentally drowned after a fight. Now the the three survivors must get their stories straight before the investigating police arrive. Top-notch psychological suspense. In French with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

JOY HOUSE (LES FELINS), 1964, Roissy Films, 98 min. Dir. Rene Clement. A crazy French/ American hybrid, this intricately structured, perverse hide-and-seek thriller stars Alain Delon as a callous young card-shark on the run from some cigar-chomping New York gangsters. Lucky for him, he holes up in the southern French countryside with a rich American widow (Lola Albright) and her love-sick niece, the stunning Jane Fonda. Director Clement and Delon re-teamed from PURPLE NOON for this offbeat tale of murder and repressed passion, with a totally unexpected and original twist ending. Based on a novel by unsung pulp great Day Keene with an extra helping of dialogue by hardboiled genius Charles Williams (DEAD CALM). Henri Decae supplied the black-and-white ‘scope cinematography, and Lalo Schifrin did the music. Original English language version.

 

 

Saturday, October 20 – 7:30 PM

Ultra-Rare Double Feature:

THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER (COMPARTIMENT TUEURS), 1965, 90 min. Director Costa-Gavras (Z; MISSING) chose to make a suspense shocker as his first film. Finally, here it is after decades out-of-circulation, a genuine classic, a virtually lost and forgotten jewel in the crown of French crime films in urgent need of restoration and rediscovery. Six people share a sleeping compartment on a Paris-bound train. After they arrive, one of them is found strangled, and, before long, the killer starts knocking off the remaining passengers. Yves Montand is superb as a harried police inspector coming down with the flu, who doggedly follows up every lead. Red herrings abound and the twists and thrills are masterfully executed. Enormously influential on not just other French crime films that followed, but the Italian giallo thriller genre as well. With a dream cast that includes Michel Piccoli, Simone Signoret, Jacques Perrin, Catherine Allegret and Jean-Louis Trintignant. In French with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

IB Technicolor Print! THE CHAMPAGNE MURDERS (LE SCANDALE) 1967, Universal, 98 min. "Psycho puppet or cold-blooded killer?" Director Claude Chabrol’s tale of greed, hypocrisy and murder amidst France’s upscale champagne-manufacturing aristocracy unfolds in gorgeous color cinematography lensed by Jean Rabier. Grasping champagne factory owner Yvonne Furneaux (REPULSION) tries to coax her husband Anthony Perkins to help her pry loose partner Maurice Ronet’s (ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS) interest in the business. Then people start dying, and Ronet becomes the chief suspect. Is he going off his rocker? Or is someone trying to frame him? With Stephane Audran (DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOUSIE; COUP DE TORCHON) in a truly bizarre early role. Look out for that ceiling vantage point ending. Dubbed-in-English version. "A must see." – Danny Peary, Guide to the Film Fanatic NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Sunday, October 21 – 7:30 PM

Alain Delon Double Feature:

BORSALINO, 1970, Paramount, 125 min. Dir. Jacques Deray. In 1930’s Marseilles, fun-loving Jean-Paul Belmondo and ambitious Alain Delon meet, brawl over a girl, but soon become close comrades. Before long, they wrest control from the stuck-in-their-ways old gang bosses and begin organizing the wide-open city’s crime rackets. Based on Eugene Saccomano’s novel, The Bandits of Marseille, screenwriters Jean-Claude Carriere, Claude Sautet and director Deray all collaborated on the sharp script. The film was a huge hit in the U.S. as well as France upon its initial release and spurred an almost as popular sequel (without Belmondo), BORSALINO AND CO. With Mirielle Darc, Michel Bouquet, Corinne Marchand. Dubbed-in-English version. NOT ON DVD

ONCE A THIEF (LES TUEURS DE SAN FRANCISCO), 1965, Warner Bros., 107 min. Director Ralph Nelson (REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT) helmed this neo-noir, a French/American co-production. Corsican ex-con Alain Delon is living in San Francisco with his wife (Ann-Margret) and daughter, just trying to keep his nose clean. Someone holds up a liquor store driving his hot rod, and he’s pulled inexorably back down into the gutter. Delon’s master hood big brother (Jack Palance) is back in town with his gang, including sociopaths Tony Musante (BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE) and John Davis Chandler (MAD DOG COLL), and Palance will do anything to bring his younger sibling back into the murderous fold. Van Heflin (ACT OF VIOLENCE) is a tough police detective with an axe to grind, but he is ultimately willing to give Delon a fair shake. Unfortunately, there are bad memories between them, and Delon doesn’t trust him. A very cool, fast-moving nocturnal prowl through the rain slick streets, jazz clubs, back alleys and warehouses of the Bay Area. Original English language version. NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 24 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

THE OUTSIDE MAN (UN HOMME EST MORT), 1972, Roissy Films, 104 min. LE SAMOURAI in The City of Angels! Director Jacques Deray’s Melville-inspired thriller stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as a French hit man sent to Los Angeles to whack a mob kingpin (Ted de Corsia, of THE KILLING). Once the job is finished, though, he finds himself trapped in an early 1970’s nightmare of strip clubs, Jesus freaks and "Star Trek" re-runs, chased by muscle-car driving assassin Roy Scheider and helped by friendly go-go girl, Ann-Margret. With Angie Dickinson as the mobster’s (black) widow. Like THE MODEL SHOP and CISCO PIKE, this is an unforgettable, wild, landmark-strewn travelogue through the smog-choked avenues of a bygone Los Angeles and Hollywood. Original uncut, uncensored English language version. "LA was a dream for me – a Frenchman shooting in America!" – Jacques Deray. NOT ON DVD

CLASSE TOUS RISQUES, 1959, Rialto Films, 110 min. Dir. Claude Sautet. This hardboiled classic was virtually unknown in the US for decades until first Telluride, then the American Cinematheque screened it in the mid-1990’s. Rialto Films re-released it here in late 2005 to overwhelming acclaim of a major rediscovery. Lino Ventura delivers an awesome performance (maybe his best) as Davos, a gangster in the twilight of his career, on the run from the mob with his wife and family. Jean-Paul Belmondo (hot off his star turn in BREATHLESS) co-stars as a young hood who comes to Ventura’s aid. Brilliantly scripted by Jose Giovanni (based on a story he had heard in prison.) In French, with English subtitles."In addition to its crisp action sequences, the film has an excellent sense of place, showing us Paris, Nice and the small villages and French countryside between… one of the things that makes CLASSE TOUS RISQUES distinctive are the palpable emotional connections it makes with its characters. Though he is the hardest of hard cases, Davos cares deeply about his family, and the feelings of regret, sadness and desperation that cross his face are just one of the factors that make this film the classic it is." – Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times NOT ON DVD

 

Thursday, October 25 – 7:30 PM

Ultra-Rare Melville!

SECOND BREATH (LE DEUXIEME SOUFFLE), 1966, Filmel, 150 min. Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville. A middle-aged hood (Lino Ventura) breaks out of jail and organizes a new gang, determined to prove he still has what it takes. Melville’s brutal, crackling noir contrasts Ventura’s "old world craftsmanship" against the younger generation of Nouvelle Vague crooks. A twisting-turning maze of existential pitfalls opens up before Ventura’s character – some placed by the police, some by his cronies, some by his woman and some even by himself – will it be possible for him to circumvent them all? Based on the novel by Jose Giovanni. Director Alain Corneau just completed production on a remake with Daniel Auteil. With Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin. In French, with English subtitles. "Melville did for the crime film what Leone did for the western." – Quentin Tarantino; "Established Melville’s reputation as a brilliant refurbisher of the immemorial imagery of the genre – gleaming night streets, gunmen prowling in deserted stairways." – Tom Milne. NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Friday, October 26 – 7:30 PM

Alain Corneau Double Feature:

CHOICE OF ARMS (LE CHOIX DES ARMES), 1981, 114 min.Yves Montand is a retired mobster living a quiet, bourgeois existence in the country with his beautiful spouse (Catherine Deneuve). But their lives are shattered when impulsive, younger gangster, Gerard Depardieu, escapes from prison with a comrade. The two fugitives are subsequently ambushed by a rival gang, Depardieu’s friend is seriously wounded, and they go on a desperate hunt for refuge -- which leads them straight to Montand. An unstoppable chain reaction of tragic complications set in when a pair of cops (Michel Galabru, Gerard Lanvin) decide to pay a visit, sowing seeds of suspicion and betrayal. Director Alain Corneau again shows himself worthy of the mantle of a latter-day Melville. With the indisputably volcanic match-up of Montand, Deneuve and Depardieu. In French, with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

POLICE PYTHON 357, 1976, Tamasa, 125 min. Director Alain Corneau’s tough, violent policier’s plot faintly echoes old school noir, THE BIG CLOCK. Yves Montand is middle-aged cop Marc Ferrot who falls for a young photographer (Stefania Sandrelli, of THE CONFORMIST) – without realizing that she’s already the mistress of his unstable boss, Commissaire Ganay (Francois Perier). Co-starring Simone Signoret as Ganay’s bitter, bedridden spouse. In French, with English subtitles. "Contains two murders, one suicide, one supermarket hold-up, a number of muggings and a lot of mail-order psychoanalysis" – Vincent Canby, The New York Times NOT ON DVD

 

 

Saturday, October 27 – 7:30 PM

Ultra-Rare Double Feature:

SERIE NOIRE. 1979, Tamasa, 111 min. Director Alain Corneau expertly adapts one of Jim Thompson’s most twisted pulp masterworks, A Hell of a Woman. Patrick Dewaere stars as Frank Poupart, a human ferret scurrying around the bleak edges of Nowhere, trying to sell cheap trinkets door-to-door and collect on small mob debts. When he stumbles across a gorgeous teenager (Marie Trintignant) with a rich and repulsive aunt, Dewaere gets sucked into the blackest vacuum of all. With Bernard Blier. In French, with English subtitles. "Definitely the best movie made from a Jim Thompson novel to date…Patrick Dewaere as demented thief/murderer/ child molester is as close to a real Jim Thompson character as an actor could get." – Barry Gifford NOT ON DVD

CROOKS IN CLOVER (aka LES TONTONS FLINGUEURS aka MONSIEUR GANGSTER) 1963, Gaumont, 105 min. Director Georges Lautner (ICY BREASTS) helmed this deliciously funny, but dark gangster spoof with Lino Ventura (SECOND BREATH) as a former mobster lured back into the business by a dying friend’s last request. Obligated to tie up some "loose ends" as well as look after the dead man’s soon-to-be-married daughter, Ventura abruptly finds himself running afoul of gangster hardcase, Bernard Blier. But Ventura is not to be trifled with, and responds in equal measure. Soon, a string of killings erupt and bodies pile up as the two men go at it. One of the classics. In French, with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Sunday, October 28 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

ONE DEADLY SUMMER (L’ETE MEURTRIER) 1983, Universal, 130 min. Dir. Jean Becker. Beautiful, but emotionally unstable Isabelle Adjani is Eliane, the daughter of a single German mother who was raped by returning soliders post-WWII. Adjani goes on an investigative quest to find the men and, specifically, the man responsible for impregnating her mother (Maria Machado) – the man who must logically be her father. And when she finds him, she is determined to kill him. It’s just too bad that the village’s volunteer fireman Pin-Pon (played by pop star Alain Souchon) falls in love with her. His own obsessive affection and protective feelings towards her will suck him down into a nightmarish maelstrom of conflicted emotions and sickening violence that will change both their lives forever. Director Becker (son of master filmmaker Jacques Becker, who brought us French crime masterpieces CASQUE D’OR, GRISBI and LE TROU) dissolves present day events and flashbacks into each other with stream-of-consciousness effect, creating a poignant tapestry of heartache, beauty and tragic irony. Winner of four French Cesar Awards, including Adjani for Best Actress. In French, with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD

Ultra-Rare! RIPTIDE (UNE SI JOLIE PETITE PLAGE) 1948, 97 min. Dir. Yves Allegret. Former orphan, Gerard Philipe, returns to the lonely, beachside inn where he grew up, before his idealism was crushed and he sank into the depths of degradation, self-loathing and murder. Amidst an oppresive atmosphere of perpetual rainfall, Philipe goes through his last days and is dismayed to see a teenage boy who reminds him of himself. He hopes to set the orphan right, but the hardened boy is already well on his way on the road to perdition. A spiritual heir to earlier French crime gems like LE JOUR SE LEVE and QUAI DES BRUMES, RIPTIDE is a forgotten classic in urgent need of rediscovery. With Jean Servais. In French, with English subtitles. NOT ON DVD