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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.

1963, Pathe, 115 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jacques Deray

Jacques Deray’s masterful heist noir is a brilliantly choreographed tale of greed and betrayal, with familiar faces (Charles Vanel, Michel Auclair, Michele Mercier) in various stages of intrigue. Deray handles the action with metronomic precision, beautifully accented by a magnificent score from Michel Magne. Pathé’s 4K restoration is flawless in its rendering of Deray’s masterful design, revealing the crisp, astringent camerawork of Claude Renoir (son of Jean). Come see the brilliant beginnings of one of France’s finest directors of the past half-century!

1952, Carlotta Films, 92 min, Dir: Orson Welles

Until its 1992 restoration, Orson Welles’ wildly imaginative Shakespearean adaptation was often overlooked, and nearly impossible to see in a decent print. Despite its initial budgetary problems, which caused the shooting schedule to stretch out over three years (it was started in 1949), it stands as one of Welles’ greatest visual poems. An astonishing achievement against nearly overwhelming odds. Starring Welles, Micheál Mac Liammóir, Suzanne Cloutier.

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