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1965, French Institute, 90 min, France, Dir: Costa-Gavras

A virtually lost and forgotten jewel in the crown of French crime films, Costa-Gavras’ (Z, MISSING) suspenseful debut feature is a genuine classic. 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.

2002, Cohen Film Collection, 132 min, France / Germany / Romania, Dir: Costa-Gavras

Acclaimed director Costa-Gavras’ thought-provoking adaptation of Rolf Hochhuth’s play The Deputy frames larger historical issues in compelling human drama by focusing on two individuals mired in the bureaucracy of mass murder during WWII. German SS officer Kurt Gerstein (Ulrich Tukur) is shocked to discover that the process he developed to eradicate typhus is being used to exterminate Jews. Believing that public awareness would bring an end to Nazi genocide, he turns to the Vatican, where a young priest (Mathieu Kassovitz) tries to help Gerstein make his case to Pope Pius XII.

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