Monday, December 7, 2009

Borsalino (1970)

After the success of La Piscine, actor Alain Delon worked again with director Jacques Deray. This time Delon, who also co-produced, asked Jean-Paul Belmondo to join the project. In 1969, Delon and Belmondo were at the peak of their career. They worked together in 1957 when they started as actors in Sois belle et tais-toi and in 1966 in René Clément's Is Paris Burning?, but Borsalino was the first where both had lots of screen time.

Marseille 1930. Roch Siffredi (Delon) is out of prison and looking for his girlfriend Lola. She is now with François Capella (Belmondo). The fight between Siffredi and Capella ends with a friendship. These two starts with a little job and later do bigger and more important jobs, until when they defeat Poli and Marello who rule the town. They become the true leaders of Marseille, but Capella realizes that the time will come when he and his friend will kill each other, therefore he decides to leave France. However, like his motto "La chance, ça n'existe pas", Capella never has that chance.

Based on Eugène Saccomano's book, Bandits à Marseille, Jacques Deray did a wonderful job in re-creating the atmosphere of Marseille in 1930. The sets (I'm particularly amused with the train and the death scene of Nono - where there are lots of 1930's cars in the background. They must have blocked the whole area.) and the costumes are superb. We also must not forget the catchy soundtrack by Claude Bolling. The title Borsalino itself is taken from the brand of the fedora worn by actors in the movie. The plot is also not bad. We witness the 2 petty bandits who climb their status, first only hired to steal a race-horse until becoming the most powerful men in Marseille. The scene in the fish market reminds me of Ordralfabétix from Astérix and how a line like "Your fish is not fresh anymore" can cause mass fight. The ending is also perfect, both main characters are gone forever.

Forty years after the movie was made, finally the DVD is available. Interesting when I think about it: Forty years after, a movie was made. Now, for us the new generation, the DVD is available, again after 40 years. The DVD is full of extras: documentaries and interviews about the genesis of Borsalino, the filming, the premiere, and the success. I love watching Claude Bolling plays the theme song. There is also a 19' interview with Alain Delon, which is rare - because I have many of his movies on DVDs and if there is any interview, it is short. I usually search on YouTube -, where he shows us how to wear the hat and my most favourite part: when he mentions the other Roch Siffredi, that actor.

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