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The Second Wind

The Second WindFrom Alain Corneau, the director
  of Le Cousin and Tous Les Matins Du
, The Second Wind makes its
  UK premiere on DVD with this dark
  story of the beautiful Manouche and
  her associations with the French

ORIGINALLY ADAPTED BY JEAN-PIERRE MELVILLE from José Giovanni's novel Un Reglement de Comptes into the 1966 classic Le Deuxieme Souffle, The Second Wind is a remake starring the enchanting Monica Bellucci (Malena; The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee) as the sexy Manouche and Daniel Auteuil (Hidden; 36, Quai De Ofèvres) as her notorious gangster lover Gustav "Gu" Minda. Also starring is football heartthrob Eric Cantona (Looking For Eric) as her protector and barman Alban.

With the 1950s drawing to a close, Manouche is managing her chic nightclub in Paris while her lover Gu is languishing in prison for masterminding a bullion train robbery.

However, as Gu is making a desperate bid to escape, the nightclub comes under fire from a rival criminal faction, leaving Jacques Ribaldi, also known as Jacques La Notaire (Jean-Claud Dauphin) dead and attracting the attention of the wily, keen-eyed Inspector Blot (Michel Blanc) who draws comparisons with the murder of Manouche's friend Paul a few years before.

But even at her home Manouche is not safe and it appears the threat comes from another nightclub owner, Jo Ricci. With Gu free and reunited with Manouche, they begin to make plans to escape to Italy by boat from Marseilles. But Gu wants to fund their new life with one last job.

Who can he trust? How can he avoid betrayal? As he joins Jo's brother Venture and the hard-nosed Stani Orloff (Jacques Dutronc), he is running dangerously close to sadistic cop Inspector Fardiano (Philippe Nahon), who works outside the rule book. "Jo's scum," says Gu, "but Venture is one of us."

In Marseilles, Manouche's cousin Théo hides Gu and the plans for the heist are being put into place. But all is not well and the 'last job' that was to finance their future goes horribly wrong.

Gu is a complex person with surprising values. Although he will stop at nothing to gain from his criminal activities, he is grateful to Bernard, who saves his life during the prison break-out. He is disillusioned by the absence of trust and loyalty but is ever faithful to Manouche.

The Second Wind explores these values and the relationship of the police with the criminals along with the musings of Blot as he faces danger: "Sometimes I regret getting married. I regret being a brother, having sisters, and my father too. That way, you can pass on without hurt."

Dark and ponderous, The Second Wind is a fascinating window onto the underworld of over half a century ago; a starkly poignant reminder of a changing world. The film also features Francis Renaud as Henri Letourneur; Stéphane Brel as Poupen; Charles Farnell as Fred and also Daniel Duval; Gilbert Melki; Nicolas Duvauchelle; and Jacques Bonnaffé.

The Second Wind is Adapted by Alain Corneau; Dialogue is by José Giovanni and Alain Corneau; Original Music Composed and Orchestrated by Bruno Coulais; Director of Production; Bernard Bolzinger; Director is Alain Corneau.

The Second Wind is released on DVD on 14 September (2009). Certificate: 18 | Feature Running Time: 149 minutes approx | French Language with English Subtitles | Extras: Trailers | RRP: £15.99.

"Dark and ponderous, The Second Wind is a fascinating window onto the underworld of over half a century ago; a starkly poignant reminder of a changing world" — Maggie Woods, MotorBar