LA NOTTE
THE NIGHT
1961, Rialto Pictures, 122 min, United States , Dir: Michelangelo Antonioni

The middle film in director Michelangelo Antonioni’s acclaimed early-1960s trilogy of alienation puts an upper-class marriage under the microscope as it disintegrates. After successful author Marcello Mastroianni and his wife (Jeanne Moreau) visit a hospital to see a dying friend, they go to a party where each meets a flirtatious guest (Giorgio Negro and Monica Vitti) and is forced to confront the emptiness of their relationship. A Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear winner (and one of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films).


ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS
ASCENSEUR POUR L’ECHAFAUD
1958, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, France, Dir: Louis Malle

“I knew I loved you, but I thought only of myself,” murmurs gorgeous Jeanne Moreau - after setting in motion a murderous plot involving her fat-cat husband, a young intelligence officer (Maurice Ronet) and some of the darkest twists and turns in French cinema. Made when Malle was only 25 years old, this film helped jump-start the French New Wave. The dazzling cinematography of Henri Decaë (who also shot THE 400 BLOWS) is enhanced by Miles Davis’ haunting jazz score.


BACK TO THE WALL
LE DOS AU MUR
1958, Gaumont, 93 min, Dir: Édouard Molinaro

Before moving to comedies, director Édouard Molinaro began his career with several superb thrillers; this is his most auspicious debut. Gérard Oury is a cuckolded husband who devises an ingenious revenge against his cheating wife (Jeanne Moreau, looking just as luminous and sad-eyed as she did in ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS) only to have it backfire, setting in motion his increasingly desperate efforts at a cover-up. Molinaro revels in the use of classic noir devices (flashbacks, voiceovers) to create a unique mood in a film that’s guaranteed to scratch your “noir itch.” With Philippe Nicaud. In French with English subtitles.


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