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LE CERCLE ROUGE
1970, Rialto Pictures, 140 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

“When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.” The three men brought together in this taut crime thriller are recent parolee Alain Delon, escaped prisoner Gian Maria Volonte and ex-cop Yves Montand, who together target a Paris jewelry shop (in a bravura heist sequence to rival RIFIFI’s) while on the run from both the police and a local gangster.


ARMY OF SHADOWS
L’ARMEE DES OMBRES
1969, Rialto Pictures, 145 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Arguably director Jean-Pierre Melville's most personal film (he fought in the French underground during World War II), this shattering portrait of the early days of the French Resistance is not so much a crime film as it is a fascinating companion to the director’s more famous thrillers. The dark, fatalistic tone and the themes are all there from Melville’s noirs: betrayal, the loss of honor and the mechanics of brutality. Legendary tough guy Lino Ventura stars in what Melville called “a nostalgic pilgrimage back to a certain period which profoundly marked my generation.” With Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse.


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.


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