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Sisyphean Entanglements Double Feature: ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (ASCENSEUR POUR L’ECHAFAUD), 1958, Rialto Pictures, 91 min. Dir. Louis Malle. “I knew I loved you, but I thought only of myself,” murmurs gorgeous Jeanne Moreau – after setting in motion a murderous plot involving her fat-cat husband, a young intelligence officer (Maurice Ronet) and some of the darkest twists and turns in French cinema. Made when Malle was only 25 years old, ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS helped jump-start the French New Wave as one of the first films to represent the new young voice in French cinema. The dazzling cinematography is by Henri Decae (who also shot THE 400 BLOWS) and the sublime jazz score is by Miles Davis. In French and German with English subtitles.
LE MONTE-CHARGE, 1962, Gaumont, 90 min. Dir. Marcel Bluwal. A highly fruitful collaboration between actor-director Robert Hossein and hard-boiled novelist Frédéric Dard (THE WICKED GO TO HELL, BLONDE IN A WHITE CAR) comes to an end with this spooky sendup of L’ASCENSEUR POUR L’ECHAFAUD, where ex-con Hossein returns to his old criminal haunts on Christmas Eve only to hook up with a mysterious, alluring woman (Lea Massari) whose circumstances become more complicated and bizarre as the evening progresses. In the midst of the “elevating” terror, one senses director Bluwal’s tongue subtly in cheek. In French with English subtitles. Introduction by director Bertrand Tavernier.