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Film Studies 101
Feature
Become A Film Noir Expert In Ten Easy Movies
Master a genre in just a handful of films

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Become A Film Noir Expert In Ten Easy Movies | Le Doulos (1962)
Le Doulos (1962)

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Philippe Nahon, Serge Reggiani

With its traditional love of US gangster flicks and a serious case of post-war blues, France was fertile ground for film noir to make the journey across the Atlantic. After all, what could be better than a bunch of gloomy men with guns? Nothing, especially if they were complex Gallic types like Tony le Stéphanois (Jules Dassin’s Rififi), Jef Costello (Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai) and Jean (Marcel Carné’s Le Quai Des Brumes) - handsome, brooding antiheroes who toy with our sympathies but probably couldn’t give un tóss if we take their side or not. More than any of his peers, Melville bridged noir and New Wave, so the hats, pistols and trench coats remain ubiquitous but the narrative is vaguer and the style looser. He gives his antihero, Jean-Paul Belmondo’s titular snitch - “Le Doul” is shorthand for finger man - motives murky enough to keep you guessing to the final reel. Has he sold out old friend Faugel (Reggiani) or is it all a cunning ploy to double-cross his police paymasters? Hey, it’s Jean-Paul Belmondo. Whatever he does, he's going to make it look fairly cool.

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