Touchez pas au grisbi

A rare chance to see this film noir, the finest French crime movie ever made, according to a recent critics' poll conducted by Positif. Jean Gabin is the Montmartre gangster Max le Menteur; with his partner Riton (René Dary) he has copped a treasure (or grisbi)-fifty million francs worth of gold bars. Riton tells his lover (Jeanne Moreau), she tells hers, and the web of betrayal spins out. "Becker set the tone of French policiers for a generation to come. (Melville, Dassin's Rififi, even Godard's Breathless) all draw on (Grisbi's) mood of ironic, existential fatalism....The quality (Becker) brings to his material isn't intensity, but intentness-a quick, bright eye as alert to backgrounds and artifacts as to gestures, movements, expressions, and speech patterns....Grisbi is as much meditation on age and loss as simple gangster movie, its rueful flavor distilled in Jean Wiener's plaintive harmonica theme." (Philip Kemp, Film Comment). Trapped in a circus of well-groomed, suited machismo, Moreau stands her own as possibly the toughest of them all.

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