‘Le Cercle Rouge’ on Criterion Channel

Crime cinema has never been so meticulously and coolly executed as in Le cercle rouge (France, 1970). Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1970 heist classic stars Alain Delon and Gian Maria Volonte as coolly professional thieves, Yves Montand as a soused sharpshooter who regains his self-respect when he joins their team, and Andre Bouvril as the unrelenting cop […]

‘Le Doulos’ – the French criminal code on Criterion Channel

If classic French cinema is any indication, then gangsters were the great Gallic underground hero. Where the prototypical American gangsters are invariably cultural outsiders and immigrants who muscle their way to power in sprays of bullets, their French counterparts are dapper men with a code of loyalty who walk the tightrope between respect and disrepute. […]

Alain Demon in Jean-Pierre Melville's French crime classic

I Wake Up Streaming – September 2019

Originally published on the Film Noir Foundation website The Criterion Channel launched earlier this year with a spotlight on American film noir. This month, it celebrates the shadows of international crime dramas, gangster films, and thrillers. The Complete Jean-Pierre Melville All 14 Melville films, from his debut documentary short 24 Hours in the Life of a […]

Alain Delon stars in the Jean-Pierre Melville French crime film classic

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ on Kanopy and The Criterion Channel

Alain Delon is the coolest killer hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville’s austere 1967 French crime classic Le Samourai (France, 1967). Delon’s impassive hitman Jeff Costello is a professional’s professional, an assassin with a face of stone, nerves of ice, and the patience of a monk. He […]

Jean-Pierre Melville directs the French Resistance classic starring Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret

‘Army of Shadows’ – Jean-Pierre Melville’s French Resistance on The Criterion Channel

Legendary gangster movie director Jean-Pierre Melville turned his familiar crime film iconography on its head with Army of Shadows (France, 1969), his gravely personal drama about the early days of the French Resistance in World War II. Gangster movie icon Lino Ventura plays Resistance leader Philippe Gerbier with an observant stillness and coiled calm different […]

French filmmaker and film historian Bertrand Tavernier is your tour guide in this personal documentary

Bertrand Tavernier presents ‘My Journey Through French Cinema’ on Kanopy

Bertrand Tavernier is both an essential French filmmaker and a dedicated film historian. His epic (over three hours long) documentary My Journey Through French Cinema (France, 2016) combines the two professional callings in a decidedly personal look at the cinema that shaped and excited him as both a cinephile and a filmmaker. Forget the familiar […]

Alain Demon in Jean-Pierre Melville's French crime classic

Criterion Blu-ray: Alexander Payne’s savagely funny ‘Election,’ plus ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,’ ‘Le Samouraï,’ and ‘Jabberwocky’

Election (Criterion, Blu-ray, DVD) A wicked satire of power and (social) politics set in the overheated incubator of a high school student body election, Election (1999) is as sharp and perceptive now as it was in 1999. The confident second feature from director Alexander Payne and his screenwriting partner, Jim Taylor (coming off the critical […]