Lea Messari

L’insoumis (Alain Cavalier, France, 1964)

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Alain Delon loves dancing, dogs, children, life. But he’s killed a man and fallen in love with a woman. He’s been wounded in the stomach but it’s the wound in his heart that’s killing him. Will he make it home from the mess in Algeria to see his child?

Black and white gorgeousness by Alain Cavalier and with Delon and Messari, based on a true story about the kidnapping of lawyer Dominique Servet, who subsequently sued the producers (which included Delon, producing for the first time) and won. The film was re-distributed in cinemas minus twenty-five minutes of footage the court ordered removed. It can finally be seen as Alain Cavalier originally intended. And it’s at least as good as his wonderful Le combat dans l’île, which I’ve written on at length here.

Seeing these films made me realise that there’s at least a book yet to be written on French Cinema, one on non-nouvelle vague cinema during the nouvelle vague era, that could highlight some of these achievements and bring them out of the shadow of their more famous but not necessarily better contemporaries. Claude Renoir’s cinematography is a wonder.

José Arroyo