Friday, 7 October 2016

Capital Celluloid 2016 - Day 293: Thu Oct 20

Night at the Crossroads (Renoir, 1932): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.20pm


This 35mm screening is part of the French Noir season at BFI Southbank and also screens on October 20th. You can find the full details here.

New Yorker review:
In Jean Renoir’s 1932 adaptation of a detective novel by Georges Simenon, the stink of humanity rises equally from the gutters of Paris, where the laconic Inspector Maigret (Pierre Renoir, the director’s brother) is stationed, and the muddy suburban outpost where Maigret is sent to solve a crime. A car is reported stolen and turns up with a diamond dealer’s corpse inside, and Maigret begins his investigation with the obvious suspect, an immigrant of dubious background whose ramshackle house is a nest of questionable habits and suspicious intentions. The film is famously gappy (the real-life reasons remain a mystery), but it’s nonetheless a sly and raunchy glimpse of the resentment and aggression beneath the French populace’s back-slapping heartiness. The director’s vision of the working world is harshly physical. The night mist is sickly with cigarette smoke and pungent liquor; the glistening of headlights on rain-slicked roads, the screech of a wan accordion, and the scrape of a favorite old record are symbols of evil and harbingers of death. Renoir matches the elegance of calm lawmen with their terse courage, Maigret’s perspicacity with an astonishing, documentary-style long take of a car chase through back roads in near-total darkness.
Richard Brody

Here (and above) is an extract.

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