5.2/10
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Brigade des moeurs (1985)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Thierry de Carbonnières ...
Gérard Lattuada
Jean-Marc Maurel ...
Costa
Lillemour Jonsson ...
Veronica
Bernard Rosselli
Gabrielle Forest ...
Sylvie
Denis Karvil ...
Rapha
Phify ...
Gros Louis
Guy Di Rigo
Henri Lambert ...
Marcel
Olivia Dutron
Jean-Pierre Bernard ...
Le Grec
Jean-Luc Buquet
Pascale Roberts
Christian Barbier ...
Robert Capes
Yves Collignon
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Thriller

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Release Date:

9 January 1985 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Brigade of Death  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Referenced in Deux enfoirés à Saint-Tropez (1986) See more »

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Amazing late career hybrid from Max Pecas
22 October 2014 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Finally seeing this film was a revelation for me, and I will keep my review brief so as not to detract from other buffs' discovery of its contents. Suffice it to say that this is one of the most successful attempts to combine over-the-top violent elements within a softcore sex film while actually making a real movie.

I have seen nearly all of Pecas's groundbreaking pictures from the '60s and early '70s and salute him as a pioneer of that borderline movie that was both art film and sex film (imported on the art theater circuit such as our famous Heights Art Theater in Cleveland Heights, Ohio). Attending the Cannes Film Festival in 1986 I even had the opportunity to watch his action movie Deux enfoirés à Saint-Tropez, playing at a local cinema.

But none of these prepared me for BRIGADE. On the surface a routine gritty cop thriller, its integration of ultra-violence into the proceedings is unprecedented.

The only film that came to mind was Lee Frost's notorious A CLIMAX OF BLUE POWER, but that movie is hardcore porn, while Pecas stays strictly within softcore guidelines. Similarly, the deviant '80s cinema of Phil Prince is hardcore porn also injecting violence. Nowadays pornographers avoid injecting violence into sex films due to fear of censorship.

Film opens with a familiar night scene of street hookers, de rigeur in countless French and Italian urban action pics, but soon we're in the morgue gazing at the corpses of several fully nude trannies. I began to wonder, given the evolution of TV from its squeaky clean 1950s shows to today's array of grisly police procedurals, if such a visual would ever be shown here (though American HORROR STORY seems poised to cross over the line soon).

Hero Jean-Marc Maurel's adventures on the vice squad solving a routine crime case are marked by scenes of violent dread that I found far more disturbing than the typical gorefest, because they were realistically staged and very well acted, rather than relying upon outlandish makeup or other special effects. In particular, there are two scenes of heroines being tortured that might even disturb Lee Frost at his most indulgent.

I look forward to a theatrical revival of this forgotten opus (Anthology Film Archives here in a Manhattan would be a perfect venue). Not a great film, but clearly worth hunting down as a one-of-a-kind movie.


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