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Jean-Pierre Melville

Le Deuxième souffle

Second Breath

Arguably Melville’s greatest film, with a superb Lino Ventura as an escaped con hiding from the cops.

Image from Le Deuxième souffle

France 1966
Dir Jean-Pierre Melville
With Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Raymond Pellegrin, Christine Fabréga
English subtitles
Certificate PG

This is arguably Melville’s greatest film, with Ventura utterly superb as the escaped con hiding from the cops and plotting one last robbery before he leaves France. Set in Paris and Provence, it offers a highly stylised yet wholly compelling picture of the French underworld and police, while its rich, twisting narrative allows for Melville’s customary focus on matters of honour and professionalism, loyalty and betrayal.


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