Modern Matinees

Lino Ventura

Sep 8–Oct 28, 2022

MoMA

Classe tous risques (The Big Risk). France. Directed by Claude Sautet. 1960. Courtesy of Everett Collection
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

A professional wrestler before Jacques Becker cast him as a supporting hood in Touchez-pas au grisbi (1954), Lino Ventura became one of France’s most popular stars of the 1960s and ’70s, balancing taciturn, tough-guy roles for directors such as Jean-Pierre Melville (Le deuxieme souffle, 1966) and Claude Sautet (Classe tous risques, 1960) with comedies (most famously, Georges Lautner’s Les Tontons flinguers, 1963) that drew on his considerable gifts as a frustrated straight-man. Famously, Ventura never employed an agent, but insisted on auditioning writers and directors himself in his home office in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Cloud. Said to be reluctant to extend himself beyond his comfort zone in genre filmmaking, Ventura nevertheless contributed memorable work in naturalistic dramas, such as Francesco Rosi’s Illustrious Corpses (1976), in which he played a police inspector investigating a wave of judicial assassinations, and contributed his European box-office appeal to such international coproductions as Duccio Tessari’s Tough Guys (1974) and Jack Gold’s The Medusa Touch (1978).

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

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