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Belcourt - Nashville's Nonprofit Cinema

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Part of Weekend Classics: Restoration Roundup.

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. BOB was 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. In its incredibly evocative shots of a noir Montmartre (“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.

Restored in 4K under the supervision of Studiocanal, with the support of the CNC.

“A feast of underworld ambience, hot jazz and gaming-table brinkmanship… When he isn't mentoring a young hood or shielding a sizzling babe from the advances of a predatory pimp, he's cruising from back-room poker games to casinos to feed his gambling habit. But he bets all his chips on a long shot: a heist of the Deauville casino that could net the retired gangster 800 million francs.” —Jim Ridley, Nashville Scene (Feb 11, 2010)

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