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Lift to the Scaffold (Ascenseur pour l’échafaud) 15


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8pm Monday 1 January

DIRECTOR Louis Malle
CAST Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin

Louis Malle’s perfect French noir film, which ushered in the French New Wave, stars Jeanne Moreau and features a Miles Davis soundtrack.

Louis Malle’s brilliant debut feature catapulted Jeanne Moreau to international stardom and ushered in the French New Wave. A former French soldier and his lover conspire to kill her arms-dealer husband, who is also his employer – they have the perfect plan, so long as nothing goes wrong. Beautifully filmed and with a fabulous score, improvised by Miles Davis, this is the perfect French noir film.
(1958 France 88 mins B&W Subtitled)

After several years as an assistant to the marine explorer and film-maker Jacques Cousteau, Louis Malle made his feature directorial debut with this assured thriller, which recalled both the poetic realism of Marcel Carné and the brooding menace of American films noirs. In addition to making a star of Jeanne Moreau and giving a generation a phobia about elevators, the film also had a considerable influence on the nascent French New Wave through the moody naturalism of Henri Decaë’s black-and-white photography. The sublime jazz score was improvised by Miles Davis and a band of European musicians while the film played on a screen before them.  David Parkinson, Radio Times

Language: French / German

BBFC advice: Contains mild language and violence
Detailed advice from the BBFC (click on insight)


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