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Night at the Crossroads
(La Nuit du Carrefour)

Screening on Film
Directed by Jean Renoir.
With Pierre Renoir, Winna Winfried, Georges Térof.
France, 1932, 35mm, black & white, 75 min.
French with English subtitles.
Print source: British Film Institute

The first adaptation to the screen of one of Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret novels features Maigret—played by Renoir’s brother Pierre—trying to solve a car theft, yet being drawn into more intrigue when he finds the car with a dead man behind the wheel. Simenon and Renoir were prior friends and collaborated closely on the screenplay. The dark, enigmatic film that resulted is so ambiguous at points that it has led to theories that parts of the script were never shot or even that footage has been lost. In fact, the overwhelming impression is the return of the kind of uncanny and erotic naturalism that permeated La Chienne. Godard himself described it as “Renoir’s most mysterious film...the only great French detective movie—in fact, the greatest of all adventure movies.”

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