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Generally,this movie is considered the first "true " film of this director .It had huge problems with the censorship (it was not the last time : "RAS" and "Le Juge Fayard Dit Le Sheriff" had also problems) because of the way it showed the police ,whose "methods" were close to those of gangsters;in order not to ruin his producer ,the director cut 8 minutes and remade a whole scene.
It's still watchable today ,thanks to Boisset's nervy style even before the cast and credits :the prologue is violence itself and violence is present -such an intensity was not common in 1970-all through the movie till the last pictures.
"The role of the police is to take care of the society as it is ,not to reform it" says chief superintendent Adolfo "thunderball" Celi;and another sentence has remained famous;the cop (Michel bouquet) to Françoise Fabian " a body which works well is not a body which does not produce waste ,but which eliminates them properly".
We feel the "after 68" zeitgeist in the meeting at the beginning of the movie and the posters in Rufus's house shows Boisset's anti -militarism -which will come to the fore with "RAS" in 1973);one of the posters reads:"army humiliates,imprisons and kills "
That said,the characters are cardboard ("deep" figures have never been Boisset's forte and never will),the screenplay rather simplistic -compared to the works to come such as "Dupont La Joie",but it has become a film noir semi-classic ;indeed,Michel Bouquet's character verges on madness nay psychopathy with a straight face and a total lack of humanity.
Yves Boisset was actually the successor of André Cayatte ,with more aplomb and less endearing characters .All through the seventies,he tried to clean the Augean stables of his country.
NB "Condé " in French has 2 meanings
b)a deal which allows one to pursue illegal activities in exchange for information; the second meaning can be applied to Françoise Fabian's brother who wants to stay loyal and pure and refused the deal
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