French civilization in the desert. Saganne is of peasant stock, with courage and a forceful will. In 1911, he volunteers and is posted to the Sahara under the aristocratic Colonel Dubreuilh... See full summary »
An anguished foster child takes to mischief and lies as his foster parents do their best to love and care for him. But it might be too little, too late in this emotionally devastating portrayal of the orphaned child.
Mangin, a police inspector in Paris, leans hard on informants to get evidence on three Tunisian brothers who traffic in drugs. He arrests one, Simon, and his girl-friend Noria. Simon's brothers go to their lawyer. He springs Noria, who promptly steals 2 million francs that belong to the Tunisians. They suspect her of the theft; her life as well as the lawyer's is in danger. Meanwhile, Noria is playing with both the lawyer and Mangin's affections. Mangin is mercurial anyway: intimidating and bloodying suspects, falling for a police commission trainee before flipping for Noria, wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Can he save the lawyer and Noria, and can he convince her to love?Written by
Flawed film anchored by one of Depardieu's best ever performances
French director Maurice Pialat mixes his usual approach of dialogue- heavy improvisation and his own slightly twisted sense of 'realism' with the police procedural genre. Anchoring Police is the formidable Gerard Depardieu playing Inspector Mangin, a chunky pitbull of a man who mixes charm, playfulness and violence together as he plays his way through the crime-fighting game with equal amounts of efficiency and carelessness. Pialat's camera, loose and restless, seems fascinated by him, and Depardieu's performance devours the film, overshadowing the director's themes of loneliness and criminality in France.
The first two-thirds of Police are it's best, as Mangin is caught up investigating a bunch of Tunisian drug-dealing criminals, and has his eye caught by the doe-eyed and beautiful Noria (Sophie Marceau), the girlfriend of one of the chief suspects. It's in these early scenes that Mangin is off the leash, slamming suspects heads into tables as a manner of interrogation, and, outside of work, joking with his friend Lambert (Richard Anconina), the criminal lawyer for most of the scumbags that Mangin puts away. Lambert is good at what he does, and most of his clients get off, yet he and Mangin laugh and joke about the system. It's all just a game to Mangin, something for him to do in order to satisfy his many appetites, as the line between the police and criminals is blurred.
Then Police settles down somewhat, as Noria turns from frightened innocent to fully-fledged femme fatale. She gets herself involved in a stolen wad of cash, and suddenly no-one is safe. Mangin is slowly revealed to be a lonely widower, and the film loses it's momentum. The fast dialogue and the murky world of pushers, pimps and prostitutes fades in favour of long takes in empty rooms, and Mangin suddenly isn't as interesting as he was. Sometimes it's better to prolong the mystery, to keep a character's motivations skewed. But Police is still a great ride, featuring one of Depardieu's best ever performances.
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