The University of Iowa

‘Film After Noir’ Continues March 10

March 4th, 2011

The “Film After Noir,” series (the Spring 2011 Proseminar in Cinema and Culture) continues this Thursday, Mar. 10, with a screening of Le Samouraï (1967, Jean-Pierre Melville, 101 min), starting at 7 p.m. in 101 BCSB.

Jef Costello (Alain Delon) is the ultimate professional in his role of contract killer. Meticulously attentive to detail, including spinning alibis with girlfriend Jane (Nathalie Delon), Costello succeeds in avoiding a criminal record … until the night he completes a contract to murder a nightclub owner. As he leaves the scene of the crime, he is seen by several witnesses, including the club’s pianist, Valérie (Cathy Rosier). Although a Parisian police superintendent (François Périer) pursues him relentlessly, Costello remains elusive. The chase plays out when Costello returns to the nightclub.

Director Jean-Pierre Melville transfers his love of American culture and of films such as This Gun for Hire and Double Indemnity to fashion a tone poem that shows in a minimalist visual style what a thousand words might not be able to convey. In 2010, Le Samouraï was ranked #39 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films of World Cinema.” Delon’s Jef Costello is mix of Jean Gabin’s François (Daybreak), Alan Ladd’s Raven (This Gun for Hire) and Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry). Watch out for men wearing double-breasted trench coats and fedoras.

Steven Ungar, UI professor of French and Comparative Literature, will lead post-screening discussions.

The series is sponsored by UI International Programs, the Institute for Cinema and Culture and the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact Ungar at or 319-335-0330.