1966, Janus Films, 150 min, France, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

This riveting crime drama based on the novel by José Giovanni tells the story of a middle-aged hood (Lino Ventura) who breaks out of jail and organizes a new gang, determined to prove he still has the juice. Melville’s brutal, crackling noir contrasts Ventura’s “old-world craftsmanship” against the younger generation of Nouvelle Vague crooks. According to critic Tom Milne, the film “established Melville’s reputation as a brilliant refurbisher of the immemorial imagery of the genre - gleaming night streets, gunmen prowling in deserted stairways.”

1959, Rialto Films, 110 min, France/Italy, Dir: Claude Sautet

Lino Ventura delivers an awesome performance (maybe his best) as Davos, a gangster in the twilight of his career, on the run from the mob with his wife and family. Jean-Paul Belmondo (hot off his star turn in BREATHLESS) co-stars as a young hood who comes to Ventura’s aid. Brilliantly scripted by Jose Giovanni, based on a story he had heard in prison. “In addition to its crisp action sequences, the film has an excellent sense of place, showing us Paris, Nice and the small villages and French countryside between. … One of the things that makes CLASSE TOUS RISQUES distinctive are the palpable emotional connections it makes with its characters. Though he is the hardest of hard cases, Davos cares deeply about his family, and the feelings of regret, sadness and desperation that cross his face are just one of the factors that make this film the classic it is.” - Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times. In French with English subtitles.

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