THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER
COMPARTIMENT TUEURS
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.


AND HOPE TO DIE
LA COURSE DU LIÈVRE À TRAVERS LES CHAMPS
1972, CCFC, 99 min, France, Dir: René Clement

This adaptation of David Goodis’ novel Black Friday concerns a crook on the lam (Jean Louis Trintignant) who crosses paths with a Montreal gang plotting a big score - led by noir stalwarts Robert Ryan and Aldo Ray. “Froggy” (as Ryan dubs our hero) decides to join in the heist and, of course, ends up neck-deep in danger. An odd and invigorating French-Canadian-American production, this is a rarely screened homage to noir on both the page and screen, sparked by a devilish script from author Sébastien Japrisot (The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun). English dubbed version.


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