Jean-Pierre Melville

BFI Southbank Guide Sep-Oct 2017

‘LE SAMOURAÏ IS MASTERFUL IN ITS CONTROL OF ACTING AND VISUAL STYLE’ ROGER EBERT With this second part of our centennial tribute to Jean-Pierre Melville, we move on to his greatest movies, writes season programmer Geoff Andrew With the sole exception of L’Armée des ombres (which meant a great deal to Melville, who was proud of his years in the Resistance), from Le Doulos onwards the writer-director worked exclusively in the crime genre. Mood and visual style were consistently influenced (albeit in a knowing, slightly distanced way) by American noir; thematically, the films returned repeatedly to questions of trust, codes of courage and honour, shame and guilt – in short, the correct way to live... and die. Within these formal and narrative constraints Melville composed a remarkably diverse and fruitful series of variations, so while Le Deuxième Souffle can seem almost documentary-like in its detail, Le Samouraï and Un Flic feel mythic, almost abstract. He was undoubtedly one of the greats. WANT MORE? See p11 for screenings of My Journey Through French Cinema, and turn to p40 for our Big Screen Classics CULTURAL PARTNER


BFI Southbank Guide Sep-Oct 2017
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