Watch Now: LE CERCLE ROUGE
When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever may befall each, whatever the diverging paths, on the said day, they will inevitably come together in the red circle. This is the epigraph of Le Cercle Rouge that Jean-Pierre Melville made up, but attributed to Buddha. It’s a poetic and stylish description of the main plot of this influential classic: a prisoner is released on the count of his good behavior and immediately starts planning the heist of a Parisian jewelry store, for which he soon finds his competent accomplices, a prison escapee and an alcoholic ex-policeman whose specific set of skills are needed. But an eager police commissioner is prepared to go the distance to thwart their plans.
Le Cercle Rouge, led by a brilliant cast of Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonté, Yves Montand and André Bourvil, is an elegant, exquisite crime film showcasing the best of Melville’s unique approach to filmmaking. The gallery of distant, emotionally restrained characters with sacred moral and professional codes suck us into a narrative with sparse dialogue but an abundance of meaning. To say Le Cercle Rouge is understated would be an understatement, but half a century after its release, Melville’s film is still the same epitome of cool.