LE CERCLE ROUGE
[THE RED CIRCLE]
"Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, drew a circle with a piece of red chalk and said: 'When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle.'" Like LE SAMOURAÏ, Jean-Pierre Melville opens LE CERCLE ROUGE with an apocryphal Eastern quotation of his own devising, and proceeds to skillfully orchestrate the random trajectories of three men into something that takes on the weight of existential fate. Alain Delon, just out of the slammer, starts settling scores and preparing for his next robbery; prisoner Gian Maria Volontè escapes custody of police officer André Bourvil and makes a daring escape from a moving train; and alcoholic ex-cop Yves Montand momentarily regains his pride and sobriety when called upon to perform as a professional, even if this time it's in a criminal enterprise. "Melville blends the Chandleresque world of his own devising with gritty French reality. With its taut silent robbery sequence, his movie gestures backwards to RIFIFI, and with Montand's specially modified bullets it anticipates Frederick Forsyth's DAY OF THE JACKAL and the contemporary techno-thriller." – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. DIR/SCR Jean-Pierre Melville; PROD Robert Dorfmann. France/Italy, 1970, color, 140 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
AFI Member passes accepted.
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