Saturday, January 10, 2009

Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Le Cercle Rouge is a crime film set in Paris, France. It was directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and starred Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volonte and Yves Montand. It is perhaps best known for its final heist sequence which is about half an hour in length. The film's title means "The Red Circle" and refers to the film's epigraph which translates as "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.'" In fact, the Buddha said no such thing; Melville made it up, just as he did with the epigraph in his film Le Samourai. Corey is a cool, aristocratic thief, released from prison on the same day that Vogel, a murderer, escapes from the custody of the patient Mattei, a cat-loving police superintendent. Corey robs Rico, his mob boss, then enlists Vogel and an ex-police sharpshooter, Jansen, in a jewel heist. While Corey is harried by the vengeful Rico, Mattei pressures Santi, a nightclub owner and pimp, to help him trap the thieves. Over all hangs the judgment of the police directeur, that every man is guilty.

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