On Monday night, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, just west of Philadelphia, will present Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le cercle rouge (1970), in conjunction with the institute’s four-week course Dark Streets, Dark Lives, which celebrates the director’s centennial year by taking a closer look at a selection of his most influential work. The course’s instructor, Temple University professor Maurizio Giammarco, will be on hand to introduce the screening. With Le cercle rouge, his diamond-hard penultimate film, Melville mounted one of his most masterful entries in the crime-thriller genre, an elegantly stylized heist film in which a taciturn trio of thieves (Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and Gian Maria Volonté) orchestrate an intricate jewelry-store robbery, their fates hanging in the balance as a dogged police inspector (André Bourvil) closes in. “Melville uses music minimally, deploys natural sounds like a virtuoso, and, along with cinematographer Henri Decaë, evokes vibrant color with a restricted palette,” writes critic Michael Sragow in his liner essay for our edition of the film. “One could call the result a feast for the senses, except that would imply satiation, even gluttony, and one emerges from this film with senses primed.”
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