Noir City: The Hole (Le trou)

The Hole

France | 1960 | 131 min. | Jacques Becker

February 20, 2024

Noir City

Adapted from ex-con José Giovanni’s novel, Becker’s masterpiece is a focus on process. The use of sound brings hypnotic intensity to scenes of the prisoners digging their way from their cell to the tunnels below. Jean-Pierre Melville declared Le Trou, “the greatest French film of all time.” New 4K Restoration.

Individual Tickets: $16 | $11 SIFF Members - Select showtime to purchase
Passes: $150 | $125 SIFF Members

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Adapted from the first novel by mysterious ex-con José Giovanni, who based it on a real prison-break attempt he’d taken part in, and co-starring Jean Keraudy, another of the actual participants, Jacques Becker’s masterpiece commits itself to raw verisimilitude. A stripped-down focus on process, visceral physicality, and stunning use of sound bring hypnotic intensity to scenes unfolding in real time as the prisoners dig their way from their cell to the tunnels below. The film indulges an almost Hawksian pleasure in the company of the cellmates, five men willing to risk everything for freedom, as they hang out, work, shoot the breeze, and punish traitors. Noir master Jean-Pierre Melville, who owned the independent studio where it was shot, declared Le Trou “the greatest French film of all time,” adding, “And I weigh my words carefully.” —Film synopsis courtesy of Noir City

  • Original Language Title: Le trou
  • Director: Jacques Becker
  • Principal Cast: Michel Constantin, Jean Keraudy, Philippe Leroy, Raymond Meunier, Marc Michel
  • Country: France
  • Year: 1960
  • Running Time: 131 min.
  • Producer: Serge Silberman
  • Screenplay: José Giovanni, Jacques Becker, Jean Aurel
  • Cinematographers: Ghislain Cloquet
  • Editors: Marguerite Renoir, Geneviève Vaury
  • Music: Philippe Arthuys
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Casque d’Or (1952), Rendezvous in July (1949), antoine & Antoinette (1947)
  • Language: French
  • US Distributor: Rialto Pictures
  • International Sales: Studiocanal