The Easy Way

Last Updated: March 21, 2012By Tags: ,

That, according to himself, would be Albert Spaggiari, small-time crook and wedding photographer who, in 1976, organized a daring heist when he and fellow gangsters broke into the bank vault of the Société Générale Bank in Nice, opening 400 safe deposit boxes over a long weekend and getting their hands on some fifty million francs’ worth.

Arrested some time later and brought before the judge, he pulled off another daring act, jumping out of the window of the judge’s office to the street below where he took off on the motorbike of a waiting accomplice. Twelve years later, destitute, conned long ago out of his part of the loot by the tough Marseille gangsters he had brought in to help with the heist, he died of cancer in Argentine.

An interesting story, then, which director Jean-Paul Rouve, who also plays the part of the robber, has made into an eminently watchable film.

Spaggiari who was given to flights of fancy and saw himself as a stylish man about town–beside having pulled off a hugely successful heist–would no doubt have been irked by this portrayal. Rouve’s Spaggiari is charming but deceives himself with an image that is far from the rather pathetic actual persona who spends his days eating lobster by the swimming-pool of luxury resorts only to go home at night to a miserable apartment on the outskirts of town and who desperately wants to believe that the world still sees him as the greatest robber of them all.

France’s critics have described Rouve’s film, released a couple of days ago, as a light-hearted caper but the audience leaving the theater feels sympathetic and saddened rather than amused. This French production was just released in theatres in France; any US distrib deal will be announced shortly)

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