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, ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS helped jump-start the French New Wave as one of the first films to represent the new young voice in French cinema. The dazzling cinematography is by Henri Decae (who also shot THE 400 BLOWS) and the sublime jazz score is by Miles Davis.


SAFE CONDUCT
LAISSEZ-PASSER
2002, 170 min, France/Germany/Spain, Dir: Bertrand Tavernier

Inspired by the memoirs of filmmaker Jean-Devaivre, this rich drama serves as a love letter to moviemaking while illuminating a painful period of French history. During the 1940s German Occupation, Devaivre (played here by Silver Bear winner Jacques Gamblin) and screenwriter Jean Aurenche (Denis Podalydès) struggle to continue making films without selling their souls to the Nazis.


THE NIGHT AFFAIR
LE DESORDRE ET LA NUIT
1958, Pathé, 93 min, France, Dir: Gilles Grangier

Jean Gabin’s association with director Gilles Grangier reaches its peak in this brooding crime drama set in the underbelly of Parisian nightlife. He’s an inspector investigating the murder of a shady nightclub owner who, in the midst of the case, finds himself becoming involved with the comely young witness (Nadja Tiller), who turns out to be a drug addict - and who’s privy to the behind-the-scenes dirt between the owner and his mysterious wife (Danielle Darrieux).


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