Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Jean-Pierre Melville: Un flic / A Cop / Dirty Money (Take I)

Un flic / A Cop / Dirty Money (1972) -- the last film ever made by Jean-Pierre Melville before he died at age 55 -- features Alain Delon in the lead role, Catherine Deneuve in the middle and Richard Crenna on the far side. Literally tinged in various tones or shades of blue, Un flic is a superbly bleak noir affair. Even scenes involving a helicopter and train -- both appearing as no more than miniature replicas, even toys -- remind us that the arcs of our lives are largely made, at least according to some, but for the sport of the gods.
What's the difference between the cops and the robbers? Not much. One side has "legitimacy," the other has defiance, flying only the black flag of piracy. They duel against each other -- such is their shared destiny, their interplay.

The following statement is laid out twice during Un flic, the first time in caps: 

“Les seuls sentiments que l'homme aie jamais été capable d'inspirer à un policier sont l'ambiguïté et la dérision." - Eugène François Vidocq [1775-1857].

This is subtitled in English as:

"The only feelings mankind has ever inspired in policemen are those of indifference or derision."

Google translator gives a slight variation:

"The only feelings that humans have ever been able to inspire [in] a policeman are ambiguity and derision."

Does something different about people inspire "the robbers" and "the gangsters?"

Today's Rune: Harvest. 


Luma Rosa said...

Hi, Erik!
Alain Delon was a very handsome man, but as to his talent, have not watch any movie in which he participated. Such a pity! Need to fix this and I'll try to find the movie you mentioned.As for the police, I never thought about what we think about them - their reputation around here is not good, often compared to the bandits. But like any other profession deserves our respect! Unfortunately have not earned our understanding.

Charles Gramlich said...

The gods have some nasty senses of humor it would seem.