Few NYFF alumni can claim as close a relationship with the festival as the chronically underappreciated French master Maurice Pialat (À nos amours, Van Gogh), who presented eight of his 10 feature films at the festival, designed an NYFF poster and was the subject of a complete Film Society retrospective (including an exhibition of his paintings) following his death in 2003. In the extraordinary Police, an intensely physical Gérard Depardieu stars as Mangin, a jaded police inspector who finds himself drawn into a dead-end romantic triangle involving the seductive moll (Sophie Marceau) of a Tunisian drug kingpin and Mangin’s cynical, world-weary lawyer pal Lambert (Richard Anconina). A brutally efficient genre film by way of John Cassavetes’s searing interpersonal dramas, Police marked the second of Pialat’s four inspired collaborations with Depardieu, who won the Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival for his torrential performance.
“Pialat, who combines a ferocious rawness with perfect formal control, goes further than anyone before him in establishing the policeman’s physical, moral, and emotional intimacy with the criminals he interrogates and brutalizes. A film of stunningly vivid temperament.”
–NYFF24 program note
“With his head slung forward from massive shoulders and his broad, hanging gut, Depardieu moves through Police like a Brahman bull swaying on a slaughterhouse meat hook, and he exudes the usual Depardieu charm–an animal geniality that reliably bursts into violence…Depardieu seems like a tennis champion gracefully batting back everything the unpredictable Pialat tosses his way. His performance is electric with the joy of responding to the challenge.”
–Paul Attanasio, The Washington Post