LÉON MORIN, PRIEST
1961, Rialto Pictures, 117 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

In a French Alps village during WWII, widowed mother Barny (Emmanuelle Riva) walks into a confessional, but not as a believer; a communist and atheist, she is more concerned about the welfare of her daughter during the occupation. The priest she speaks to, Léon Morin (Jean-Paul Belmondo, wonderfully cast against type), proves exceptionally insightful, and as they begin to have philosophical conversations outside of church, she feels a growing attraction to the young man. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Henri Decaë, this is among the most thoughtful examinations of faith and its challenges ever made.


LE DOULOS
THE FINGERMAN
1962, Rialto Pictures, 108 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Director Jean-Pierre Melville met actor Jean-Paul Belmondo during Melville's brief cameo in Godard’s BREATHLESS - here, he gives Belmondo one of his best roles, that of a two-faced informer caught between the police and his “old pal,” played by doom-faced Serge Reggiani. “It was only when LE DOULOS was finished and Belmondo saw himself on the screen that he realized, with great astonishment, ‘Christ! The stoolie is me!’” - Melville.


UGLY, DIRTY AND BAD
BRUTTI, SPORCHI E CATTIV
1976, Film Movement, 115 min, Italy, Dir: Ettore Scola

Ettore Scola earned a Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival for this tragicomic portrait of a very dysfunctional family. Patriarch/slumlord Giacinto Mazzatella (Nino Manfredi) lives in a Roman ghetto, sharing a tiny shack with a legion of relatives. Giacinto has money from an accident settlement, but doesn’t share it with his family; when he starts spending it on a prostitute, his wife and sons plot against him. This gleefully offensive film was also released as DOWN AND DIRTY. In Italian with English subtitles.


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