Escapes -- France -- Drama, Male friendship -- France -- Drama, Prisons -- France -- Drama

Le trou

(The Hole)


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.

Judy Bloch
  • Jacques Becker
  • José Giovanni
  • Jean Aurel
Based On
  • a novel by José Giovanni

  • Ghislain Cloquet
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 131 mins
  • Rialto Pictures

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Le trou documents  

The hole (program note), Denver International Film Festival, 1996

Le trou (program note), Telluride Film Festival, 1996

Le trou (program note), Cinémathèque Française, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, 1981

Le trou (program note), 1964

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

The night watch (distributor materials), Consort/Orion Films

Le trou (still)

Night watch (Le trou) (review), Film Comment

Le trou (program note), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Robert Vas

Le trou (program note), National Film Theatre (London, England)

Displaying 10 of 13 publicly available documents.

View all Le trou documentation on CineFiles.