The Red Circle (Le Cercle Rouge)

Rate Le Cercle Rouge

6/6
0
No votes
5/6
2
100%
4/6
0
No votes
3/6
0
No votes
2/6
0
No votes
1/6
0
No votes
0/6
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 2
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Nau of Sands
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The Red Circle (Le Cercle Rouge)

Postby Nau of Sands » Wed 23 Nov, 2005 17:51

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A new review of an oldie : Le Cercle Rouge

There is some actuality in this topic since there today is an attempt of a revival of a french tradition of gangster/police movies with 36, quai des Orfèvres (see topic) or Le petit Lieutenant (argh ! I want to see this one in theatre too, pff no time), and some others.

Jean Pierre Melville was among the greatest of this generation of directors, the most stylish of the bunch, with others such as Henri Verneuil, who is more action and psychology-oriented. Melville was probably the most lunatic one, with an hypertrophic ego and a reputation to enter in conflict with actors up to incredible points, close to physical fight, where dialogue was impossible. He was respected and feared, a situation that he seemed to appreciate a lot. Well, simply, a nice guy :D

Le Cercle Rouge is one of his more famous movies, with others suh as L'armée des ombres or Le Samouraï.

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The other “actuality” reason is that John Woo presents Melville as his master and is currently preparing a personnal remake. – well, having seen the lasts Woo productions, I have some fears since Le Cercle Rouge is a very peculiar work, appearing far from the recent Woo universe, but we will see. (The true reason is that it is the only of Melville movie I have on DVD, but,well...).

The cast for Le Cercle Rouge was among the most prestigious ones for the time in France for such movies. The leading policeman should have been Lino Ventura, but since his last film with Melville, the actor refused to talk with him or even to be in the same room.
This is the reason why Bourvil had the role.

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Melville was first reluctant since Bourvil was famous for his comic roles at the time, and had only done a minority of serious films, this was quite like Mike Myers in a Michael Mann movie, it did n t sound possible. But actually Bourvil was conscious of a possible problem and did an astounding job, worked very hard, and even changed his voice. Finally he was perfectly integrated in the Melville very graphic universe.

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This policeman will have to deal with a group of men who he feels are preparing a robbery. This affair has turned personnal since he was ridiculed by one of them, whom he was in charge, and who escaped in front of him. His self esteem and his career are at stake.

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But his escaping convict, played by Gian Maria Volonte meets a recently liberated prisoner played by Alain Delon.

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Alain Delon was the Melville character n°1, who perfectly fitted his frozen universe at the time. (In this film he wears a ridiculous moustache for the first and last time.)

He has a projct for a jewellry robbery, planned while in prison, and is looking for complicity. Both men feel they can work together.

The fourth man is going to be a former elite policeman, since then fallen in alcohol, willing to join the jewelery robbery to prove himself he is not finished, and who is played by Yves Montand.

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For the plot, well, it is rather thin, for Melville is more interrested in sterotypal characters and situations, brought up with style.

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This is the story of men whose destiny was to meet in time and space, for their destiny to fulfill. Mood is dark, tense, the universe is cold and harsh. I think it works rather well.

Melville loved the universe of black US movies, and his universe is rather abstract, being a France with american cars, and men wearing gangster hats, the train they take for a small journey in south of France is the Orient-Express, all of this very far from the day reality.

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Actually it seems we are nowhere but in Melville's mind, with horryfing nightmares and extreme situations, stories of men being or not faithful to their word and things like that.

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The truth is that I find those movies fascinating of graphic beauty, and like their mood, but they are so (intentionnaly) cold that they somehow turn you away.

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The title is based on a buddhic sutra about people linked by destiny : (let s end up with some cryptic poetry :p)

Kof kof, erm... (with an inspired voice) :

“ When men, even if they ignore it, are bound to meet one day, everyting can happen to each of them and they can follow different paths, but at the very day, unavoidingly, they will be together in the same red circle “.

(cercle rouge means red circle)

I let you meditate this :D and give this movie a 5/6.

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Postby Chevalier Bayard » Wed 23 Nov, 2005 18:20

That's quite a long time I've seen it for the last time but I've seen it several times and enjoyed it each time.

I give it also a well deserved 5/6, especially for the character Yves Montand that you just can't forget after this movie. It's really one of the best roles he has had imho.

Also I think you're a bit restrictive regarding Bourvil's talent. Hadn't he played in more dramatic movies before ? Here he handled very well the role and showed, if he needed to confirm it, his talent.

I think even that Bourvil brings something "unexpected" that we would have, in a way, too much awaited from Lino Ventura (I don't know if it's very clear ...) and his important and well recognized charisma in "polars".

Very good idea to make a topic about this movie :gj:

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Postby Nau of Sands » Thu 24 Nov, 2005 00:44

yes, I agree that Bourvil is a great actor, good in all the roles he has played.
But I learned (from the DVD bonus) that Melville was worried, having Bourvil was not his idea.  Anyway he was 100 % reassured when he saw  Bourvil's performance. There was even complicity on the set between them, and Bourvil, once the last scene of the movie was shot and finished, asked Melville if he could redo it once more, because he was not satisfied. Melville was surprised and said yes, then Bourvil opened it in a dramatic tone and suddenly sang his "hit", "la Tactique du Gendarme", a comical song about police.

Sadly, this was his last movie as well, he died some months later.

With Gian Maria Volonte, things were not that cool, he qickly entered in conflit with Melville and wanted to leave the set, he eventuallly stayed but his role was reduced. Too bad I love this actor too (muhehe topics in sight :p)


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