LA Theatrical Opening: September 4th / RIFIFI - Re-release of seminal 50's heist film by Jules Dassin
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LA Theatrical Opening: September 4th / RIFIFI – Re-release of seminal 50’s heist film by Jules Dassin

Rialto Pictures will beloved French heist film Rififi by director Jules Dassin, for the first time on DCP, at Los Angeles’ Laemmle Royal, for one week beginning Friday, September 4.

Jules Dassin (1911 – 2008) began his filmmaking career in the early 1940s and is known for his hits  Brute Force (1947), The Naked City (1948), and Thieves’ Highway (1949). His career later took a hit when he was blacklisted for Communist activities during the McCarthy Era. Dassin’s move to France helped revive his career and was the setting for the hit film Rififi that set his career in motion once again. After the film’s successful French release, Dassin was awarded the directing prize at Cannes which allowed Rififi to be released in the U.S. where it enjoyed a successful art house run. RIFIFI is renowned for being one of the early ‘heist’ films and served as an inspiration for later films in the genre.

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“The underworld equivalent of a sublime French meai…As Rififi goes on, it beomes as savage as Reservoir Dogs, The Killing, or any of the other dozens of films over which it still casts a shadow.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“Rififi contains a 30-minute stretch of wordless movie making that is one of the most engrossing sequences since the invention of talking pictures…. [Dassin] gathers enough honors in this memorable silent sequence to satisfy most writers, directors and actors for a lifetime of work.” – Time (July 16, 1956)

“A NOIR MASTERPIECE!” – Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
“JUST ABOUT FLAWLESS! For lovers of tough-guy moviemaking, Rififi really means perfection.” – Michael Sragow, New York Times

Rififi (1955)
Runtime: 122 minutes
Cast: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel

Du Rififi chez les hommes. (1955) Back from the pen, homme dur Jean Servais first belts around his ex-girlfriend Marie Sabouret, then rejoins copain Carl Möhner and cohort Robert Manuel, who’ve got a little jewel store smash-and-grab job lined up – but Servais wants the whole works. With the aid of freshly imported safecracker “César the Milanese” (director Dassin billed as “Perlo Vita”), the resulting classic heist – a legendary 30-minute sequence with no dialogue or music – provided a usable blueprint for real-life professionals (causing outright bans in some countries) – but then, another of Sabouret’s ex-boyfriends wants a big cut. A world-wide smash, Rififi raised eyebrows for its excessive gunplay, décolletage, and dope use – all of which led to its condemnation by the American Legion of Decency. Blacklisted Hollywood exile Dassin turned a potboiler by milieu specialist Auguste Le Breton into an existential thriller that earned him Cannes’ Best Director prize and set the standard for screen robberies for decades to come – from his own Topkapi to Mission: Impossible – while “Rififi” was subsequently stolen for titles of non-related thrillers. Philippe Agostini’s all-weather location shooting provides an invaluable time capsule of Paris in the 50s, with the late Magali Noël warbling the title song.


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