Le Cercle Rouge

Blu-Ray Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Le Cercle Rouge
Le Cercle Rouge
"" | Photo: Studiocanal

This new 4K UHD release of the film by Studiocanal on Blu-ray means it has never looked better - a reminder, if it were needed, of why having a disc to keep remains a joy in an increasingly streaming-geared world.

Another reminder of the joy of discs is the set of extras - which are plentiful and detailed. Although this film has been released on Blu-ray before, it has an extra, substantial extra of The Perfect Circle, which offers a comprehensive consideration of the film and Melville's workign methods. In particular, it offers an insight into the personalities of those involved - with sparks particularly flying between the Gaullist Jean-Pierre Melville and Communist Gian Maria Volontè, who clashed so hard Volontè almost quit the film and had to be persuaded back to the set by Alain Delon. There's also some lovely detail about the career and casting of André Bourvil and we're left to lament again that terminal illness meant he never got to see the finished product, or take this more serious part of his career forward.

Copy picture

This double-disc set also includes TV documentary Codename: Melville, which takes a deep dive into the filmmaker's life and motivations, featuring current directors including Johnnie To and Volker Schlöndorff, who was once his assistant, alongside relatives and friends and revealing archive clips that set this film and the director fully in context.

Also ported across from the previous release is the introduction from the always excellent Ginette Vincendeau - although it really ought to be situated on the first disc with the film rather than squirrelled away on disc two. Rounding out the package are interviews with Bernard Stora, who was assistant director on the film, and José Giovanni (best known for writing Le Trou), who also worked with Melville. Normally, when writing about extras it's customary to note how gushing they are about the director but here there's a real sense of just how difficult Melville could be to work with. Giovanni, in particular, doesn't pull his punches, although his observations are underpinned by his admiration for Melville's craft. A refreshing change.

Reviewed on: 25 Nov 2020
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Le Cercle Rouge packshot
After leaving prison, a thief crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot a heist.

Region: 0

Sound: Dobly Digital

Extras: The Perfect Circle, Codename: Melville, interviews with Bernard Stora and José Giovanni, Ginette Vincendeau presents Le Circle Rouge,


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