This atmospheric WWII drama recounts the perilous efforts of a group of underground fighters in the French Resistance, which Melville based on his own personal accounts as a freedom fighter against Hitler’s Nazi regime.
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A great re-watch, now I consider this Melville's masterpiece. I love how it naturally goes from one character to another, changing inner voices even, to portray a group of people, comradeship and betrayal. Very entertaining. DCP
It is at first hard to understand why, released in the radical 60s, this was seen as a glorification of the Resistance. On the contrary, it shows them as ruthlessly pragmatic, detached, unable to trust even each other, each locked in their own world of voice-over because there's no one else to confide in. It is a masterpiece, a film that gives the cinematic cool of Le Samourai a political heft that leaves you broken.
Two and a half hours of cinematic brilliance from Jean-Pierre Melville. Each shot is meticulously chosen and is nearly perfect. Melville doesn't take you hostage, instead he gives you plenty of time to contemplate every single moment in this film. Fantastic fantastic fantastic. The Criterion DVD is loaded with special features, and has a beautiful transfer. It's amazing.
My first Melville, now need to check out his others. I spent a long time wondering when the French Resistance was going to actually do something productive before realizing that this is the entire point of the film. Rarely has failure been so thrilling.