The Red Circle (le Cercle Rouge)PG

The Red Circle (le Cercle Rouge)

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  • Sat 21 Oct
  • 140 minutes
  • Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Cast: Alain Delon, Yves Montand, Gian Maria Volonté, Andre Bourvil
  • France (1970)


THE RED CIRCLE [Le Cercle Rouge] (PG)

Celebrating the Centenary of Jean-Pierre Melville (1917-73), French independent filmmaker extraordinary, lover of American movies and trench coats, major influence on the Nouvelle Vague (he's in Godard's BREATHLESS), and the writer/director of some of cinema's greatest crime thrillers.

There has rarely been a thriller so meticulously cool as LE CERCLE ROUGE, which combines honourable anti-heroes, breathtaking atmospheric cinematography, and some astonishing set pieces to create a film noir masterpiece. Taking its title from an apocryphal Buddhist maxim invented by Melville, it stars a trio of Europe's most iconic actors — Alain Delon, Yves Montand and Gian Maria Volonté — as professional crooks drawn together by fate.

Master thief Corey (Delon) is fresh out of prison but soon teams up with notorious escapee (Volonté) and alcoholic ex-cop (Montand) for another job: to rob a seemingly impregnable Parisian jewellery store. The heist itself, a wordless 20-minute sequence with the thieves communicating in codified gestures, is a spellbinding tour de force.

More Melville at JW3:

Melville's great wartime resistance thriller ARMY IN THE SHADOWS shows on Sunday October 22 at 14.00. Full details at