TONTON LES FLINGERS (1963)

 

 

Ex-gangster Fernand (Lino Ventura) receives a call from a dying friend, a mob boss nicknamed “The Mexican”. The doomed mobster talks Fernand into taking care of some criminal business and looking after his soon-to-be-married daughter. When a longtime mobster heavy, Volfoni takes exception to Fernand for being an outsider, they come after Fernand who is equal to the task. He defends himself in a series of comical killings from the onslaught of the mob. Valued for Audiard’s dialogue and the acting of the whole ensemble: you will still find French people able to quote huge chunks of the dialogue, and to remember the detail of performances by Ventura, Blier et al. [Paul Meurisse] The guy with the monocle saluting Lino Ventura at the end of the movie is Paul Meurisse, a reference to the Movie _Le Monocle noir_ also by Georges Lautner. Without the linguistic knowledge to appreciate the subtlety of the vulgar French, or the cinematic knowledge to appreciate the nuances in the performance of the actors, I doubt if this film is accessible to an international audience, which is as it should be. There is a part of all national film cultures that is precious because it is particular.

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