Nearly 30 years since his death, multiple U.S. publishers, and nine-or-so translations, the moral arc of the universe might finally bend to give the flabbergastingly great French crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette his due. Fret not if you’ve yet to discover him; I’ll let James Ellroy do (some of) the summary:

“Man-oh-man Manchette was a decades-long hurricane through the Parisian cultural scene. We must revere him now and rediscover him this very instant. Jean-Patrick Manchette was Le Homme.”

In-between his many novels––often concerning politically driven, ideologically furious men and women on a war path that leaves many, many bodies behind them, each written with encyclopedic attention to character, place, and what kind of weapon best destroys an enemy––Manchette was an inveterate cinephile who plied his trade in France’s film industry. On November 7, New York Review Books conclude their heroic run of translations with Skeletons in the Closet, sparking the (dare-I-say-bright) idea to program a Manchette-scripted feature in New York. I’m ceaselessly grateful that NYRB and BAM took to this idea, and on November 1 we’re showing Serge Leroy’s Legitimate Violence, a razor-sharp, brute-force revenge picture with Manchette’s screenplay credit affixed and personality spread through.

There are rare events and then there are films I have truly never known to screen. I’ll be introducing with translator Donald Nicholson-Smith, while Greenlight will begin selling the terrifically entertaining Skeletons one week early at their 686 Fulton St. location.

Excerpt and synopsis are both below:

Jean-Patrick Manchette was France’s supreme crime writer––an unparalleled novelist who tore into his country’s film industry with hard-edged, sharp-tongued screenplays about men driven to their darkest depths. His talents are on full display in Légitime violence, which follows Martin (the late Claude Brasseur) as he takes the law into his own hands after a violent hold-up results in his family’s death. When the police fail to track down the killers, Martin seeks the help of a neo-fascist organization, embarking on a brutal mission to bring his family justice. Political, razor-sharp, and at times disturbing, this violent classic from French director Serge Leroy is a potent critique of right-wing populism in Western Europe.

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