Arguably director Jean-Pierre Melville's most personal film (he fought in the French underground during World War II), this shattering portrait of the early days of the French Resistance is not so much a crime film as it is a fascinating companion to the director’s more-famous thrillers. The dark, fatalistic tone and the themes are all there from Melville’s noirs: betrayal, the loss of honor and the mechanics of brutality. Legendary tough-guy Lino Ventura stars in what Melville called “a nostalgic pilgrimage back to a certain period which profoundly marked my generation.” With Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse.
Dir: Luis Buñuel
This later Luis Buñuel masterpiece and 1973 Best Foreign-Language Oscar winner is a return to the subversive director’s Surrealist roots and a showcase for his scrumptiously satirical wit. A sextet of upper-class friends (including Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig and Jean-Pierre Cassel) attempt to dine together but are continually stalled by a streaming series of vaudevillian events, both real and dreamed. In French and Spanish with English subtitles.