Michel Constantin, Jean Keraudy, Philippe Leroy, Raymond Meunier,
Becker’s last film, Le trou, is one of the great prison escape films and a profound meditation on freedom and confinement; it “exists in the same spiritual screen realm as Renoir’s Grand Illusion and Bresson’s A Man Escaped” (Telluride Film Festival). It has us rooting as never before for the success of its protagonists, all convicts of varying degrees of toughness attempting a prison breakout. Becker painstakingly establishes the contained world of four prisoners—and then adds a fifth. Suddenly, everything revolves around the newcomer: will he or won’t he go along with the escape plan? In this film, Becker has attempted what he might have called a “true” film: he achieves a totally engrossing tale through an extreme of realistic detail. Le trou is based on the autobiographical novel of José Giovanni, one of the participants of an actual escape attempt from Santé Prison in 1947; one of Giovanni’s cellmates, Jean Keraudy, appears in the film.