Sunday, July 25, 2010

Le deuxième souffle (2007)

After watching this, I don't see why they had to make this remake. There are not many changes from the 1966 version by Jean-Pierre Melville. One big change I noticed was the location of the robbery: in the 1966 version it was on a remote road, in this new version it was in a warehouse - to protect the informer because if the attack was on the road, it would be dangerous for him as only 3 people knew the secret route.

I haven't read the book by José Giovanni, on which both movies are based, but I believe if the remake was based on that, it would at least more different, than working based on Melville's film. Many scenes are the same: the escape from prison, the train chase (which reminded me of the anecdote how Melville made Lino Ventura do the stunt himself), Orloff's room, the clothes [I read that in the 60's Parisians didn't wear trench-coats and fedoras anymore],... 

Escaped from prison, Gu (Daniel Auteuil) joins his mistress Manouche (Monica Bellucci) and her loyal bodyguard Alban (Eric Cantona) in Paris. Manouche helps Gu to escape to Italy and wants to go with him. In Marseille, Orloff (Jacques Dutronc - looks taller than usual) offers a last job so Gu can have money before going. The job is to rob a van contains gold ingots, with Venture Ricci (Daniel Duval), Antoine and Pascal, who are searching for the 4th man. Gu agrees, the job goes well, but smart Inspector Blot (Michel Blanc) knows Gu is behind the robbery and traps him, so other gangsters hear that Gu is a grass. Gu determines not to go across to Italy before clearing his name.

homage to Le samouraï--> homage to Le samouraï
Daniel Auteuil is a good actor, but he is not Lino Ventura. Funny, I always think of Lino Ventura as a wrestler-turned-actor (and Auteuil as a real actor), but to me Lino Ventura is Gu. The same goes to Michel Blanc, because Paul Meurisse is Inspector Blot.

Although Melville's film is in black and white, when he made a colour movie the next year, he put in his trademark: cold, bleak colour with bluish tint. My copy of Le cercle rouge from Criterion is in wrong colour (so I believe: too yellow) and I plan to get the version from Canal or BFI. This version of The Second Wind is also too yellow (it's the director's choice, of course), so you can see I don't like the colour of it. Another thing I like in Melville's films is although the stories are about gangsters and violence, on screen there are nothing so violent - especially compared with today's standards. Director of this new version, Alain Corneau, digs up the hidden violence, so we can see blood spurts and torn flesh - like watching a Quentin Tarantino movie. Well, I complained because the torture scene of Paul Ricci (in this version his name is Venture Ricci) had been taken out from the 1966 version - due to censorship, but am I happy because it is available in the new version? No, I am not. Well, at least those who care for Manouche can be relieved because in this version we can see Orloff will be taking care of her.

2007 version : too yellow

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