Imported 35mm Print!

Pialat offers a documentary investigation of a shadowy universe, a classically structured police intrigue, and an allegory.

Film Comment

Gérard Depardieu, Sophie Marceau, Richard Anconina, Sandrine Bonnaire,

Pialat subverts the police thriller in a story surrounding a cop whose commitment to the law is camouflaged by his capricious appetites. Mangin (Gérard Depardieu) is obsessed with cracking a Tunisian drug ring operating in Paris via Marseilles; he brutalizes suspects on the theory that "if people get hurt they deserve it in some way." The words come back at him at the film's close, after he's become emotionally involved with the girlfriend of one of the dealers. Underneath the police procedural is a picture of cynicism and loneliness (cop), betrayal and vulnerability (Arabs), frantic survivalism (the Tunisians' lawyer who swings both ways). This is Depardieu's true element; he's relaxed in the ambiguities of mean and nice, cop and criminal, and released by Pialat's improvisatory style. If he's less convincing as the cop who transcends his own mediocrity to fall in love, well, for that we would need a Jean Gabin, and there was only one of him. 

Judy Bloch
  • Catherine Breillat
  • Sylvie Danton
  • Jacques Fieschi
  • Maurice Pialat
  • Luciano Tovoli
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 113 mins
  • Gaumont