and certainly the wittiest of the l9th century lirench novelists. but the simple fact of the matter is that these three films. whether watched alone or together. are touched by the brilliance of all that is good in post-war liuropean filrnrnaking. Take the opening film. a hard boiled film noir come police thriller that follows the exploits of Bruno Le Roux (played by Belvaux himself). an escaped convict who. 15 years earlier. had been a member of an armed division of a left wing terrorist group. Bruno attempts to resume his programme of bombings and assassinations but finds that the world has changed and that his old cohorts are either dead or firmly ensconced in comfortable middle class lives. Alone and realising that his only option is to escape to a neighbouring country. he suddenly
gets help from a surprising quarter: the heroin-addicted wife of
the weasel—faced cop who has been assigned to bring him in. The filru is based on the real life story of Mas l-‘rerot. the
Action Direct revolutionary terrorist who made his break for
freedom in 1985. changing his face and identity across Belgium until one day he just disappeared into the ether. But from this material Belvaux has fashioned a furious. entertaining and bloody thriller that questions the nature of the
conscientious terrorist. Bruno‘s Marxist ideals are an
anachronism: is he just a psychopath with a left wing agenda or
is be capable of redemption'.’ These are questions that are hinted at in the first film but never quite answered: you have to watch the other two films to get a more rounded picture. More important is how. in the empty streets. disused garages and run- down apartment blocks of (lrenoble. Belvaux manages to pay tribute to some of the gods of cinerua: Jean-Pierre Melville (The Samurai). (‘laude (‘habrol (in whose exquisite thriller. (in, nu Vin. Belvaux played a major part) and Robert Bresson.
Belvaux explains his passion: 'Their work is incredible. For
me. the time. the detail is everything. In a pistol you have. say.
seven cartridges so it is important to not carry on firing after
they are used tip. Take Melville‘s The Army oft/1c .S'limlou's. Some men from the French resistance have to kill a guy because he has betrayed them. so they wrap him up and put him in what they think is an isolated house. but then they realise the house is not so isolated and any gunshots will be heard. They argue about how they will kill him. with a knife. with a rope'.’ The whole time the traitor is listening to them. and these three guys are fighters. they are used to killing but they are unable to kill this guy. Melville makes you feel compassion for everyone in that room. because each one is a human being. In Melville it is never easy to kill a man: it is never nothing.‘ The trilogy is a series of films that are incredibly accessible but do ask a certain patience and intellect from their audience. I suggest that you give the first film a go and take it from there. Who knows. you may love it. You may even want to start a revolution. like Bruno Le Roux. the man on the run.
he year is WM and every new man who had eschewed
the football pitch for the delights of pretending to read
Proust and watching subtitled movies wished they were Jeremy Irons. lle. of course. was the chap who got to have a couple of sexy rendezvous over the course of one day with ()rnella Muti‘s ()rdette de (‘recy in the stately film version of Swami in Low. Muti had captured the hearts. minds and mansile tissues of a much wider male demographic three years before when she played Princess Aura in Mike llodges‘ divinely silly Hus/r (ion/on.
The power of three: whatever possessed crazy Belgian film- maker and actor Lucas Belvaux to play with the idea of truth and perspective?
713- 21' Nov Qiléili THE LIST 15