Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Melville’s money movie

Cue the rain

“Mais bien sur, I am calling you from my automobile. It is the ‘70s, n’est-ce pas?”
“Mais bien sur, I am calling you from my automobile. It is the ‘70s, n’est-ce pas?”
Movie

Flic ****

thumbnail

Jean-Pierre Melville's acutely minimalist take on American gangster films resulted in a formal probity unlike anything cinema has experienced before or since. <em>Un Flic</em> is his final contemplation of the genre he embraced. Both the reason for the opening heist and the rationale behind a seemingly well-heeled cabaret owner (Richard Crenna) acting as criminal mastermind remain in the shadows as Melville wisely sidesteps the planning and opens on action. Alain Delon is the cop assigned to the case, a world-weary dick who shares two things with his target: career fatigue and a whore named Cathy (played by a ravishing Catherine Deneuve). The story unfolds in furtive glances and artful gestures, the camera moving only when it needs to follow the action. Dialogue is kept to a minimum. The final blast of action plays out in the name of love. Not between characters, but from the director to a genre he spent a lifetime refining.

Find showtimes

Jean-Pierre Grumbach’s (Melville was the French filmmaker’s nom de guerre, appropriated in honor of his literary correlate, Herman) acutely minimalist take on American gangster films resulted in a formal probity unlike anything cinema has experienced before or since.

Like his contemporary Sergio Leone, Melville, in a short span of time and over the course of a relatively small number of films (Leone signed 7; Melville, 13) managed almost miraculously to craft an undeniably unique cinematic vocabulary.

The 1972 crime flick Un Flic would be Melville’s final contemplation of the genre he embraced. Both the reason for the opening heist and the rationale behind a seemingly well-heeled cabaret owner (Richard Crenna) acting as criminal mastermind remain as shadowy as the four figures seated in a black sedan parked opposite the bank, silently waiting to make their move.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Cue the rain. A drenched windshield masks the identity of the car’s occupants. Hat brims are jerked down immediately upon exiting the getaway vehicle to further shield the rogues from the elements — and anyone within 20 yards capable of providing the cops with a positive I.D.

Melville wisely sidesteps the planning portion of the initial heist, opting instead to open on action. Alain Delon is the cop assigned to the case, a world-weary dick possessed with enough moxie to sit with his back facing the door in a crowded restaurant. He shares two things with his target: career fatigue and a whore named Cathy (played by a ravishing Catherine Deneuve).

The story unfolds in furtive glances and artful gestures, the camera moving only when it needs to follow the action. Dialogue is kept to a minimum: Delon’s partner is assigned little more to say than “Car 8, I’ll hand you over,” before giving the receiver to his better half.

There is one room-temperature crack in Melville’s icy veneer. The loot nabbed in the opening robbery is used to act as seed-money for a second and even more elaborate sting. The criminals appear to be working off a bigger budget than the filmmaker. When it comes to dramatizing stickup #2, the effects budget can barely eke out the coinage needed to purchase a remote-control helicopter and Lionel train set. With the sub-Toho special effects being what they are, one half-expects Godzilla’s paw to come crashing down and finish Delon’s job for him.

Was the climactic train heist Melville’s way of keeping abreast of the popular run of espionage pictures dotting the cinematic landscape at the time of its release? Is it me, or does the beefy, pasty-faced blonde drug mule bear more than a passing resemblance to Dr. No’s Robert Shaw?

The final blast of action plays out in the name of love. Not between characters, but from the director to a genre he spent a lifetime refining. Starting Friday, you will have exactly one week to see restored 35mm prints of Un Flic and Jean-Luc Godard’s equally masterful thriller, Un Petite Soldat, at Landmark’s Ken Cinema. The time has come to put down your remotes and work for your art.

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Shorebirds active in local tidal zones, full buck moon on Sunday

Extreme high tides this weekend, perfect for grunion grabbing
Next Article

BattleMage makes EverQuest Corpse Run

Corpse Run is a 6.3% dry-hopped ABV West Coast IPA brewed with Nectaron, Mosaic, and Motueka hops
“Mais bien sur, I am calling you from my automobile. It is the ‘70s, n’est-ce pas?”
“Mais bien sur, I am calling you from my automobile. It is the ‘70s, n’est-ce pas?”
Movie

Flic ****

thumbnail

Jean-Pierre Melville's acutely minimalist take on American gangster films resulted in a formal probity unlike anything cinema has experienced before or since. <em>Un Flic</em> is his final contemplation of the genre he embraced. Both the reason for the opening heist and the rationale behind a seemingly well-heeled cabaret owner (Richard Crenna) acting as criminal mastermind remain in the shadows as Melville wisely sidesteps the planning and opens on action. Alain Delon is the cop assigned to the case, a world-weary dick who shares two things with his target: career fatigue and a whore named Cathy (played by a ravishing Catherine Deneuve). The story unfolds in furtive glances and artful gestures, the camera moving only when it needs to follow the action. Dialogue is kept to a minimum. The final blast of action plays out in the name of love. Not between characters, but from the director to a genre he spent a lifetime refining.

Find showtimes

Jean-Pierre Grumbach’s (Melville was the French filmmaker’s nom de guerre, appropriated in honor of his literary correlate, Herman) acutely minimalist take on American gangster films resulted in a formal probity unlike anything cinema has experienced before or since.

Like his contemporary Sergio Leone, Melville, in a short span of time and over the course of a relatively small number of films (Leone signed 7; Melville, 13) managed almost miraculously to craft an undeniably unique cinematic vocabulary.

The 1972 crime flick Un Flic would be Melville’s final contemplation of the genre he embraced. Both the reason for the opening heist and the rationale behind a seemingly well-heeled cabaret owner (Richard Crenna) acting as criminal mastermind remain as shadowy as the four figures seated in a black sedan parked opposite the bank, silently waiting to make their move.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Cue the rain. A drenched windshield masks the identity of the car’s occupants. Hat brims are jerked down immediately upon exiting the getaway vehicle to further shield the rogues from the elements — and anyone within 20 yards capable of providing the cops with a positive I.D.

Melville wisely sidesteps the planning portion of the initial heist, opting instead to open on action. Alain Delon is the cop assigned to the case, a world-weary dick possessed with enough moxie to sit with his back facing the door in a crowded restaurant. He shares two things with his target: career fatigue and a whore named Cathy (played by a ravishing Catherine Deneuve).

The story unfolds in furtive glances and artful gestures, the camera moving only when it needs to follow the action. Dialogue is kept to a minimum: Delon’s partner is assigned little more to say than “Car 8, I’ll hand you over,” before giving the receiver to his better half.

There is one room-temperature crack in Melville’s icy veneer. The loot nabbed in the opening robbery is used to act as seed-money for a second and even more elaborate sting. The criminals appear to be working off a bigger budget than the filmmaker. When it comes to dramatizing stickup #2, the effects budget can barely eke out the coinage needed to purchase a remote-control helicopter and Lionel train set. With the sub-Toho special effects being what they are, one half-expects Godzilla’s paw to come crashing down and finish Delon’s job for him.

Was the climactic train heist Melville’s way of keeping abreast of the popular run of espionage pictures dotting the cinematic landscape at the time of its release? Is it me, or does the beefy, pasty-faced blonde drug mule bear more than a passing resemblance to Dr. No’s Robert Shaw?

The final blast of action plays out in the name of love. Not between characters, but from the director to a genre he spent a lifetime refining. Starting Friday, you will have exactly one week to see restored 35mm prints of Un Flic and Jean-Luc Godard’s equally masterful thriller, Un Petite Soldat, at Landmark’s Ken Cinema. The time has come to put down your remotes and work for your art.

Comments
Sponsored

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Comic-Con stymied by San Diego hotel room prices

But city wants to raise hotel taxes – not a help
Next Article

Dr. Colin Meurk seeks to save ancient New Zealand

Frogs that go back to the Jurassic era.
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.