1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... See full summary »
A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.
On the eve of his release after five years imprisoned, the thief Corey is contacted by one guard of the prison that offers him a jewelry heist. However Corey seeks out his former boss Rico and steals money from him. Rico sends two gangsters to hunt Corey down and retrieve the stolen amount. Meanwhile the criminal Vogel is transported by train by the Police Officer Mattei and succeeds to escape. Corey drives from Marseille to Paris and Vogel hides in the trunk of his car. Corey finds him but does not object to ride Vogel to Paris hidden in the trunk. When the gangsters sent by Rico cut in Corey's car, Vogel saves him from the criminals, but Corey loses the money. Without money, Corey decides to heist the jewelry with Vogel and invites the former police detective Jansen to team-up with them. The trio executes a perfect heist but Rico is seeking revenge and Mattei is an unethical but efficient police officer capable to use any means to resolve the case.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Mother of all French thrillers by Melville the Master
Viewed at the Golden Apricot Film Festival, Yerevan, 2017. The peak film of the Yerevan week was without a doubt "Le Cercle Rouge", the 1970 all star gangland thriller by master of the genre, Jean-Pierre Melville. Not as well known as his younger Nouvelle Vague disciples, Truffaut and Godard, but a much better filmmaker, Melville specialized in deliberately paced psychological thrillers in which top French stars delivered some of their best performances. At the very beginning we are informed that the cryptic title, The Red Circle, comes from a fatalistic Buddhist capsule of wisdom which states that no matter what their divergent paths may be all men end up in the same Red Circle. The three men with the divergent paths here are (1) Corey, a cool gangster just released from prison and hoping to go straight (Alain Delon), (2j Vogel, a desperado killer on the lam, (Italian star Gian Maria Volonte) and (3) Jansen, a retired expert police marksman with a drinking problem and questionable morals (Yves Montand). They come together by fate to successfully pull off a tremendous midnight jewelry heist on Ritzy Place Vendôme in central Paris but will all end up in the fatal Red Circle due to a complex network of interlocking intrigues and betrayals. Bravado, integrity, and betrayal are recurrent themes in Melville films. Pulling them in to the fatal circle is another iconic French actor, Bourvil, as the wily cat loving detective relentlessly tracking the escaped Vogel all across France from Marseille to Paris, there callously exploiting his major informant contacts. (François Périer, another major French character actor). The long heist scene filmed in complete silence is spellbinding and a tribute of sorts to a similar scene in the Jules Dassin technically perfect crime thriller "Rififi" of 1955. Together with "Le Samouaï", another Melville masterpiece also starring Delon, Red Circle is an enduring twin peaks of French thriller cinema. Breathless entertainment all the way, and the work of a master craftsman at the top of his game. Cercle Rouge was part of a five film tribute to Maître Melville in the Armenian capital on the hundredth anniversary of his birth.
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