Archive of films doulos / Le doulos

France / Italy
1962, 108 min

Section: Tribute to Jean-Pierre Melville
Year: 2012

Immediately upon his release from prison, Maurice Faugel begins working out a plan of revenge. Although his first step succeeds, he gradually gets mixed up in a web of personal complications. On top of that, his best friend Silien is thought to be a police informer. More excellent work with actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.


Melville’s famed list of 63 American directors who modernized the film industry was undoubtedly his starting point for this movie. The precisely constructed plot revolves around continual changes, chases, and the scheming within the criminal underworld, which is also threatened from without by the police. We follow the adventures of Maurice Faugel as he plans his revenge against the pals who betrayed him, but he is gradually pulled into a labyrinth of suspicion and subterfuge. Even more interesting is the form the director chose to relate his fairly banal crime story. Melville based it on a novel but immediately cleaned up all the slang dialogue. He then decided the set decor would tip its hat to a particular American film (e.g. City Streets, 1931, dir. Rouben Mamoulian). An important side note is that the job of assistant director was carried out by Volker Schlöndorff, whom Melville considered his spiritual heir. In terms of form, we encounter a masterful use of temporal ellipses (supporting the story’s entire structure), the importance of which comes to light at the film’s end. The traditional crime story reference points gradually dwindle, and the villain seems evil only up to a certain point. Uncertainty and untrustworthiness best describe the essence of the plot. Le doulos is a complex film; it is difficult to understand because the same initial situation depicted in two different ways serves as the central storyline.


Tamasa Distribution
5 rue de Charonne, 75011, Paris
Tel: +33 143 590 101
E-mail: [email protected]

Institut français
8-14 Rue de Capitaine Scott, 750 15, Paris
Tel: +33 153 698 300
Fax: +33 153 698 300
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Black & white, 35 mm

Section: Tribute to Jean-Pierre Melville
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Screenplay: Jean-Pierre Melville podle knihy / based on the book by Pierre Lesou
Dir. of Photography: Nicolas Hayer
Music: Paul Misraki
Editor: Monique Bonnot
Producer: Georges de Beauregard, Carlo Ponti
Production: Compagnia Cinematografica Champion, Rome-Paris Films
Cast: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, Jean Desailly
Contact: Tamasa Distribution, Institut français

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