Directed by Jacques Becker
US release date: June 28, 2017

“Pauvre Gaspard.” A car mechanic tells us this is his story: too-sensitive-looking Marc Michel is ushered into a prison cell, where four wary-looking cons (including the mechanic as himself) tell him he’s looking at ten years hard labor. Then, when they abruptly take the first step toward a breakout, pounding away at a corner of the cell with a makeshift tool, a relentless and riveting “cinema of process” begins, culminating in a 4-minute take with three of the four cons taking turns at whacking away at a tunnel to freedom. Renoir protégé Becker, previously director of the charming “Paris” trilogy (Antoine and Antoinette, Rendez-vous in July, Edward and Caroline) and of primo gangster films, both period (Casque d’or) and modern (Touchez pas au Grisbi), determined to make a super-realistic treatment after reading newspaper accounts of the actual 1947 prison break, later teaming with ex-con and Série Noir icon José Giovanni, who wrote his own novel on the case, and three of the survivors. A powerful statement of teamwork, loyalty and betrayal, told with nerve-shredding suspense and capped by the most startling turn of the “periscope” in film history, The Hole (the title’s literal translation) was rhapsodized over by contemporary critics, but haunted by the death of 53-year-old Becker at the time of its release.

“A masterpiece… And I weigh my words carefully: the greatest French film of all time!” – Jean-Pierre Melville

Directed by: Jacques Becker
Year: 1960
Cast: André Bervil, Jean Keraudy, Michel Constantin
Runtime: 131min
In French with English subtitles
New 4K DCP restoration

> Opens Wednesday, June 28 at Film Forum through Tuesday, July 4.
You can find more details here.

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