Film Club: Rififi (1955)

Written by Auguste Le Breton (original novel and screenplay collaboration) Jules Dassin and René Wheeler

Directed by Jules Dassin

Cast

 

Jean Servais…                    Tony le Stéphanois

Carl Möhner…                   Jo le Suedois

Robert Manuel…              Mario Ferrati

Janine Darcey…                 Louise

Questions

  • What do you think of the infamous thirty-two minute long ‘heist’ scene? Is the decision not to include dialogue or music an effective one? Why? How does it compare to heist scenes in more recent and commercial films such as Snatch, Ocean’s Eleven, Inception? Why do you think it is placed roughly halfway through the film rather than at its conclusion?
  • How much of the film would you say now feels outdated? How much does the film suffer from cliché? Is this the fault of the filmmakers or because films which have followed afterwards have borrowed from it?
  • What does this film have to say about the subject of morality? Does it have a moral message? How are we supposed to feel about the film’s criminal leads?
  • What did you think of the film’s treatment of its female characters? Do what extent is this film sexist or misogynistic?
  • What elements of the film make it ‘noir’?
  • To what is extent is the setting of Paris in the 1950s also a character in the film?

Trivia

‘Rififi’ refers to a ‘macho’ style of brutal violence perpetrated by criminals and thugs.

How central is the violence and ‘rififi’ to this movie? Is it offensive?

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