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still from Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud

Louis Malle / FR, 1958 / 88 min.

Miles Davis’ muted trumpet, Jeanne Moreau’s untroubled face: if jazz and film noir coalesced anywhere it is in Ascenseur pour l’échafaud. Davis created an iconic soundtrack for Louis Malle, and the latter helped Miles enter his next phase.

poster Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)

Jeanne Moreau plays Florence, disillusioned war veteran Julien’s 'maîtresse'. He works for her husband, an arms dealer. The characters’ lives enter a maelstrom when Julien, incited by Florence, uses a revolver to kill his boss.

Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, a combination of film noir and nouvelle vague, marked a break with the French cinematic tradition of the 1950s. Moreau’s unadorned appearance, the night-time shots of Paris made using extra sensitive film and the soundtrack (jazz had hardly been used in film) were the opposite of the manicured aesthetics of French studio productions.

On October 1 composer / saxophonist Adam Claussen will give an introduction.


This movie contains scenes of violencePersons under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult


Louis Malle

Production year




Original title

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud


88 min.







Part of

All That Jazz

All That Jazz: a scintillating programme on jazz and film featuring classics, live performances and a focus on exceptional avant-garde and activist filmmakers with a passion for jazz. From Miles Davis to Vincent de Boer, from Sun Ra to Ornette Coleman.

Learn more
An abstract illustration of a figure in a trilby hat playing a piano on the left and a figure on the right playing the saxophone. (campaign image All That Jazz (© René Gast & Yvonne Kroese (
still from Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)
still from Ascenseur pour l'echafaud (Louis Malle, FR 1958)
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