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Hôtel du Nord by Marcel Carné Embassy of France - La Maison Française 4101 Reservoir Road NW Washington DC 2007
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Bob Le Flambeur

Through the night streets of Montmartre saunters silver-haired Bob Montagné (Roger Duchesne), ex-gangster and, as per his nickname, a  “flambeur” (high roller, or compulsive gambler), moving from poker to craps to the track to roulette to baccarat and back, at the break of dawn, to the one-armed bandit he keeps in his posh pad. Ever-dapper in a snap-brim and raincoat, with the occasional tux thrown in, Bob shows neophyte hood Daniel Cauchy the ropes and looks out for lusciously amoral mignon Isabelle Corey, though there may be time for one last, spectacular heist:  the casino at Deauville.

Melville’s first original screenplay, co-scripted with French pulp novelist Auguste Le Breton (Rififi), and the first of his gangster films, here done as both hommage and comic riff, and in its incredibly evocative shots of a Noir Montmartre, is “a love letter to a Paris which no longer existed.” Bob was, in its sheer exuberance, a blast of fresh air in the 50s atmosphere of the cinéma de qualité, and a precursor to the free shooting style of the Nouvelle Vague.


Bob Le Flambeur
Directed by: Jean-Pierre Melville
Cast: Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy
Year: 1956
Runtime: 98 mins
Released by: Rialto Pictures

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Playing in Cleveland, OH on February 8-9, 2018 at Cleveland Cinematheque

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