Film Series : Jean-Pierre Melville: Criminal Codes

When You Read This Letter

Quand tu liras cette lettre

1953, Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 104 min. With Juliette Gréco, Philippe Lemaire.

Show Times

  • Thu, Jun 29th 6:00pm

An overheated "woman's film" by a director renowned for his masculinist cool, WHEN YOU READ THIS LETTER is Melville's most atypical film, as well as the hardest to see. It was dismissed by many critics and by Melville himself as an impersonal commercial project, but, more recently, commentators such as Christopher Weedman in Senses of Cinema and Ginette Vincendeau in her definitive book on Melville have found much of interest in its perverse and stylish depths. Scripted by popular playwright Jacques Deval, the Cannes-set story centers on two sisters, the novice nun Thérèse (existentialist icon Juliette Gréco) and her sexually curious kid sister Denise (Irêne Galter). Much of the film's dark energy comes from the Brandoesque Max (Philippe Lemaire), a boxer/gigolo who rapes Denise and then becomes entangled with her sister. In French with English subtitles. 35mm. (MR)

Buy a ticket at our regular prices for the first Melville film on any Saturday this month, and get a ticket for the second Melville film that day at the discounted rate with proof of your original purchase: General Admission $7; Students $5; Members $4. (This discount rate applies to the second feature only. Discount available in person at the box office only.)