Jean-Pierre Melville

Le deuxième souffle

Le deuxième souffle

With his customary restraint and ruthless attention to detail, director Jean-Pierre Melville follows the parallel tracks of French underworld criminal Gu (the inimitable Lino Ventura), escaped from prison and roped into one last robbery, and the suave inspector, Blot (Paul Meurisse), relentlessly seeking him. The implosive Le deuxième souffle captures the pathos, loneliness, and excitement of a life in the shadows with methodical suspense and harrowing authenticity, and contains one of the most thrilling heist sequences Melville ever shot.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris, and film critic Geoff Andrew of the British Film Institute
  • New video interview with director Bertrand Tavernier, who served as publicity agent on the film
  • Archival footage featuring interviews with Melville and actor Lino Ventura
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Adrian Danks

New cover by Steve Chow

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris, and film critic Geoff Andrew of the British Film Institute
  • New video interview with director Bertrand Tavernier, who served as publicity agent on the film
  • Archival footage featuring interviews with Melville and actor Lino Ventura
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Adrian Danks

New cover by Steve Chow

Le deuxième souffle
Cast
Lino Ventura
Gustave 'Gu' Minda
Paul Meurisse
Commissaire Blot
Raymond Pellegrin
Paul Ricci
Christine Fabréga
Manouche
Jo Ricci
Marcel Bozzuffi
Denis Manuel
Antoine
Michel Constantin
Alban
Pierre Zimmer
Orloff
Pierre Grasset
Pascal
Credits
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Screenplay
Jean-Pierre Melville
From a novel by
José Giovanni
Cinematography
Marcel Combes
Music
Bernard Gérard
Editing
Michel Boëhm
Editing
Monique Bonnot
Production design
Jean-Jacques Fabre

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Lino Item

In a new article for Moving Image Source, critic and Cineaste editor Richard Porton peeks behind the stony facade of the most unlikely of French movie stars, Lino Ventura. Before he came to acting (responding to an open casting call for Jacques Beck…

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Le deuxième souffle: After the Fall

Le deuxième souffle, Jean-Pierre Melville’s ninth and to that point most commercially successful feature in France, was an important watershed in the director’s career. It points back to the somewhat abstract, elemental, and iconographically pre…

By Adrian Danks


Explore

Jean-Pierre Melville

Writer, Director

Though remembered now primarily for his intense, spare 1960s gangster films, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville had a startlingly varied career, encompassing wartime dramas, psychosexual character studies, and a collaboration with Jean Cocteau. Jean-Pierre Grumbach (he would eventually change his name to Melville to honor the American author of Moby Dick) fought during World War II, first in the French army and then in the Resistance; those experiences would often inspire his work to come. After the war ended, he pursued his love of film with dogged obsession. Though a lover of classical studio directors (William Wyler and John Huston among them), Melville worked mostly independently, even building his own studio. It was this fierce do-it-yourself attitude, and such startling, uncompromising films as Les enfants terribles and Bob le flambeur, that appealed to the filmmakers of the French New Wave, who adopted Melville as a godfather of sorts (Godard even famously gave him a cameo in Breathless). During the New Wave, however, Melville went his own way, making highly idiosyncratic crime films—classically mounted if daringly existential—that were beholden to no trend, including Le doulos, Le deuxième soufflé, and Le samouraï. His most personal movie was Army of Shadows, which, though misunderstood upon its initial French release in 1969, is now widely considered a masterpiece. Melville died of a heart attack in 1973 at the age of fifty-five.