From Humphrey Bogart to Nicolas Cage, Hollywood has long generated its share of bad-boy stars, but cinema’s other capital is known more for its cultivated, artistic persuasion. Film Forum’s new series, “Les Durs,” rightly does justice to France’s own collection of rough leading men by highlighting three heartthrobs with troublemaking tendencies.
Things begin in the Thirties with the piercing eyes of Jean Gabin, a full-bodied, flat-lipped lad who can’t help but make innocent Michèle Morgan fall for his criminal ways in Port of Shadows (1938). More obscure is the Italian-born Lino Ventura, whose mean, tough face — pointed eyebrows and all — remains unforgettable in Army of Shadows (1969) and The Valachi Papers (1972), in which he throws the weight of the Mafia against Charles Bronson. Jean-Paul Belmondo, best remembered for imitating Bogart’s thumb in Breathless (1960), shoots men dead in Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Doulos (1962) and embezzles millions in Alain Resnais’s Stavisky (1974).
“Les Durs” also features these three toughies populating films by the likes of François Truffaut, Julien Duvivier, Francesco Rosi, Claude Sautet, Jacques Becker, and more.
July 15 – August 2