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watched rififi the other day.

made in nineteen ninety five, it remains a fine example of noir film making. it opens with tony, who has just gotten out of jail for a five year stretch, in a poker game, continually nagged by a cough that he picked up in the dampness of his cell. he's been ravaged, broken, and, played by jean servais, tony's conveys the knowledge that prison has slowly eaten away his flesh along with his health; but yet he is still an imposing sight. you wouldn't call him pretty, like joe, and he lacks a certain charm, such as cesar has, but like all good noir protagonists, he's fascinating to watch, even when he is brutalising his ex-girlfriend for ditching him once he went to prison.

the word 'rififi' means rough-n-tumble. at least, this is what the film tells you, in a fabulous number from magali noel. it also shows that the film was made at a completely different time--it's hard to imagine a scene when the protagonists, in suit and jacket, walk into a night club, and listen to a five minute song that links their nature and the promise of their future together. but it does. and better yet, it works.

the centre of this film is a jewel heist. it takes up about fifteen, perhaps twenty minutes, and there is barely a sound. no music, no speaking, just the faint shuffle of the actors feet as they cut slowly through the floor, trying not the cause the alarm to trip. it's kind of hard to image a film where there was such absolute silence--i can just see the hollywood remake putting in some harsh electronic babble or something equally as poorly considered. if you've never seen the film, then really, this scene is a gem--absolutely captivating and full of tension, because of the song, and the nature of the characters, you know that, inevitably, something will go wrong.

it's a fine film. i enjoyed it. (and yes, i mainly did write this entry to talk about the heist scene that's done in silence. it's such a great scene.)

anyone have any other old little noir films they want to recommend?


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Nov. 26th, 2003 11:09 pm (UTC)
The Matrix!!! Definately the Matrix!!!!

*stabs self in the neck with a pen*

Sorry, spot of Tourette's.

Erm. . . Noir is such a broad palette from which to paint, it's really hard to say :) I take it you're not interested in the obvious choices like Taxi Driver, Chinatown etc. You know 'em, you've seen 'em, I have no doubt. So, have you seen Fritz Lang's M? OR Crossfire (1947) by Edward Dmytryk? Noir like grandpa used to make. Mmmm. Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques is worth a view.

For neo-noir, alphaville. Bacall on acid.

Hope that helps and is partial compensation for the awesome grouphug link :)
Nov. 27th, 2003 07:51 pm (UTC)
yeah, i like to just open up to wide definitions. i'm not real concerned with have stern guidelines for the word noir or anything else. it's not really productive, i don't think.

i'm a big fan of chinatown, and i'm so so for taxi driver. i do like bringing out the dead, however, which i think is scorcese's best film in years.

i'll keep an eye out for alphaville and the others.
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