The Twin Geeks 132: Rififi (1955)

The inimitably stylish worlds of American Film Noir and pre Nouvelle Vague French crime cinema collide in the most commanding display of technical execution ever implemented in translating the artistry of the heist to the silver screen. After getting caught in the crosshairs of Hollywood’s blacklisting during the McCarthy Era, director Jules Dassin found himself excommunicated to France, with nary an opportunity to reinvigorate his career in sight. With a meager budget and a cast of relative unknowns, including himself, Dassin set about making a film which reflected his desolate state of being, basking in the fabulously dark aesthetics of Film Noir and aided by all the salacious attributes of contemporary French cinema at his disposal. Rififi is most famous for its thirty-six minute long heist sequence, which plays out in almost complete silence. It is a high watermark for both the genre at large and for technical filmmaking in the abstract, as meticulously planned and executed as the crack team of jewel thieves demonstrate themselves to be throughout the film. We are joined this week by fellow The Twin Geeks staff member Stephen Gillespie, who has just returned from his double dose of festival coverage alongside Calvin, doling out the details for the highs and lows of both Fantasia Festival and Japan Cuts. We follow up last week’s documentary discourse of Robert Epstein’s The Celluloid Closet (1995) with his earlier, more resounding success, The Times of Harvey Milk (1984). All of this and more from your independent resource on classic and contemporary cinema.

0:00: Stephen and Calvin go to Fantasia Festival
11:13 Stephen and Calvin go to Japan Cuts
26:00 The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)
38:22 Rififi

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