Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

Police 1985

Directed by Maurice Pialat

Maurice Pialat retrospective continues with violent, metaphysical, unconventional policier featuring Gérard Depardieu, named Best Actor at Venice in 1985 for his performance.

France In French with English subtitles
113 minutes 35mm



Catherine Breillat
Sylvie Danton
Jacques Fieschi
Maurice Pialat. Based on an idea by Catherine Breillat


Luciano Tovoli


Yann Dedet


Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki


Gérard Depardieu
Sophie Marceau
Sandrine Bonnaire


Police is a violent, metaphysical, unconventional policier featuring a superb turn from Gérard Depardieu, who was named Best Actor at Venice in 1985 for his performance. Depardieu plays Mangin, a bigoted and brutish cop investigating the illegal drug trade in Paris’ Tunisian community. The first part of the film, rich in anecdote and observation, details police procedure with impressive vérité-style realism. The second part charts Mangin’s dangerous romantic relationship with Noria (Sophie Marceau), a young woman who has stolen a suitcase full of money from her drug-dealing boyfriend. Police has been widely praised for its formal daring, precise performances and naturalistic ambience; the film’s racial and sexual politics have left some critics decidedly uneasy. Catherine Breillat, director of Romance, Fat Girl and Anatomy of Hell, wrote much of the gritty script.

“If you want a thriller, then you’re in for a rough ride; this is about tension, conflict and hostility, and almost all of it between man and woman.” — Chris Peachment, Time Out