Le deuxième souffle
(Second Breath), (Second Wind)
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.