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.”
Two Stark Visions of the American Underbelly Hit the Big Screen
A new restoration of the groundbreaking vérité documentary Streetwise joins its companion piece, Tiny: the Life of Eric Blackwell, at New York’s Metrograph theater this weekend.