Archive for June 4th, 2010


     Wonders in the Dark’s Garden State friend and colleague, writer David Schleicher has been doing great work at The Schleicher Spin for a few years now, but his latest feature on the Kevin Brownlow/Carl Davis Napoleon, is worthy of a special, enthusiastic shout-out.  It’s a fantastic companion-piece to Allan’s magnificent essay of weeks back, as it’s a kind of hands-on reaction and appraisal of the uncompromised commentary that issued condemnation for those responsible for preventing the long version from reaching the public by way of legitimate release.  David’s overview and specific consideration of the cinematic masterpiece’s most celebrated sequence is a must read for any serious cineaste: http://davethenovelist.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/napoleon-complex/


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by Allan Fish

(France 2008 247m) DVD1/2

Aka.  Mesrine – L’Instinct de Mort & L’Ennemi Public No 1

No-one kills me till I let them

p  Thomas Langmann  d  Jean-François Richet  w  Jean-François Richet, Abdel Raouf Dafri  ph  Robert Gantz  ed  Hervé Schneid, Bill Pankow  m  Eloi Painchaud, Marco Beltrami, Marcus Trumpp  art  Emile Ghigo  cos  Virginie Montel 

Vincent Cassel (Jacques Mesrine), Cécile de France (Jeanne Schneider), Ludivine Sagnier (Sylvie Jeanjacquot), Gérard Depardieu (Guido), Mathieu Amalric (François Besse), Roy Dupuis (Jean-Paul Mercier), Gilles Lellouche (Paul), Elena Anaya (Sofia), Myriam Boyer (Jacques’ mother), Michel Duchaussoy (Jacques’ father), Florence Thomassin (Sarah), Gérard Lanvin (Charly Bauer), Olivier Gourmet (Commissaire Broussard), Samuel le Bihan (Michel Ardouin), Georges Wilson (Henri Lelièvre), Laure Marsac (journalist),

We all know the tale of how Jesse James was shot in his own home, straightening a picture on the wall, or of how John Dillinger was shot outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago after watching Manhattan Melodrama.  Outside of France, however, few will know of how Jacques Mesrine, the infamous gangster and criminal celebrity was finally gunned down by cops in an ambush at a set of traffic lights in Paris.  Not any more. 

            Jacques Mesrine’s life is told in flashback and in two parts.  After an opening prologue showing his death, we go back twenty years to Algeria in 1959, where his refusal to shoot a female prisoner sees him return home to parents he feels increasing contempt for due to their compliance under the Nazis.  He turns to a life of crime under the tutelage of local bigwig Guido, and even turns his back on his Spanish wife Sofia and their children.  Escaping from France while the dust settles, he hooks up with Jeanne, who becomes his accomplice in a series of crimes across Canada and even the US, before they are captured and put in different prisons.  Jeanne serves out her time, but Jacques escapes back to France, beginning again his life of crime more publicly than before, with increasingly outrageous escapes from Maximum Security Areas and roadblocks alike.  (more…)

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