Criminal investigation -- France -- Drama, Gangsters -- France -- Drama, Larceny -- France -- Drama

Le deuxième souffle

(Second Breath), (Second Wind)

Imported Print


Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin, Christine Fabréga,

Aging gangster Gustave “Gu” Minda escapes from prison into an underworld society of professional thieves, killers, and cops that has functioned without him for ten years. Invited to participate in a heist, he proves his skills are still intact. But an accusation that he has betrayed his cohorts proves his undoing; only the “correct” action of the policeman on the case can clear his name. Honor among thieves, and a bond between the intelligent crook and the smart cop, are identifiable trademarks of the Melville policier, as emblematic as the familiar American gangster film conventions he honors. But Melville isolates all of this in an austere visual style, while the characters remain impassive in the extreme. If there is loyalty, even love, between these men, they are not allowed one luxury: trust.


Judy Bloch
  • Jean-Pierre Melville
Based On
  • the novel by José Giovanni

  • Marcel Combes
  • French
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 145 mins
  • Courtesy Institut Français, thanks to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy
  • Janus Films

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Jean-Pierre Melville: the French connection (program note), Pacific Film Archive, Judy Bloch, 1996

Melville on Melville -- excerpt (book excerpt), Secker and Warburg, Rui Nogueira, 1971

Melville on Melville -- excerpt (book excerpt), Secker and Warburg, Rui Nogueira, 1971

Le deuxieme souffle (review), Sight and Sound, Tom Milne, 1967

Le deuxieme souffle (review), Variety, Gene Moskowitz, 1966

Second breath (distributor materials), Audio Brandon Films, Charles Affron

Jean-Pierre Melville in context (program note), Chris Peachment

French cinema since 1946, volume 2 -- excerpt (book excerpt), Roy Armes

Deuxieme souffle, le (review)

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