Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion

Gian Maria Volonté

The twang of a jew’s harp is the first sound you hear in 1970’s Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion. “BOING,” it goes, slightly ridiculously, the soundtrack of Ennio Morricone (who else?) instantly setting the tone for the entire film, an uneasy mix of the absurd and the satirical. Meanwhile, on screen, a handsome man’s man (Gian Maria Volontè) in a smart cream suit is arriving at the apartment of a beautiful woman (Florinda Bolkan) who is clad in a kaftan and little else. “How are you going to kill me this time?” she purrs. Clearly this “killing” is all part of some sex game they play, he the killer, she the victim. … Read more

Le Cercle Rouge

Vogel and Corey face off

Le Cercle Rouge, Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1970 gangster-heist movie, starts with a quote from the Buddha about all men eventually finding themselves inside the red circle. Regardless of what they think they’re up to, or how self-determined their actions are, human beings cannot outwit fate. The quote is entirely bogus, having been written by Melville himself, who picks up and drops the idea of fate/luck/chance throughout his movie, relying on it to operate when he needs a fanciful meeting of two key characters to occur, for example, but keeping it out of the picture for the film’s centrepiece, a long, silent heist sequence. The film is a self-assured and elegant exercise in style and … Read more