Bob le flambeur

Bob le Flambeur


(Criterion)

 

Jean Pierre Melville’s breakout film is a film of mood, chance, and crime. An essay on cool, it is described by Melville as a love letter to the Paris he knew (and love letters are written at night). In the film, Bob is a down-on-his-luck gambler who decides to scam a casino, and only winds up scamming himself.

How? Well, check out the ending. In a bit of brilliance, perhaps only matched by the ending of the original “Ocean’s Eleven,” Bob manages to both win and lose…and to both be the reason why he is caught, and why he won. Confused?

Melville shot this flick with true indie spirit. He would keep actors on hold, and call them with a moment’s notice when he had enough money to shoot. What results is a film that doesn’t always edit together all that well, but it all adds to the heightened state of cool and a sense of the “outlaw” nature that Bob, and, Melville as well were all about. And it is a sense that he never lost. Check out his “le cercle rouge” to see some interesting weather changes from shot to shot.

Check this film out. Check all of his films out!

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