An unusual and highly atmospheric chamber piece where formal simplicity enables genuine nuance in the subtle character interaction. Nevertheless it's very specifically of its time politically and as the action proceeds, the officer's monologues feel increasingly as if they belong to the writer rather than the character - we lose the more interesting ambiguity that characterises the early part of the film.
A tremendously absorbing debut from Melville. Despite being heavily reliant on monologues & a solo location, there's a lofty gravitas to proceedings. Howard Vernon, bathed in an irresistible glow, is spellbinding as the deluded German officer musing on life, culture & France to his silent hosts. The mysterious tale unravels through Melville's energetic camera movements that flicker between flames & moon-like stares.
Set in France, 1941, the film is a detailed analysis of the occupant - a German officer, portrayed as complex, conflicted, humane and his relation with a French family, worth considering that it was filmed in 1949, when the memories were still fresh and wounds open. I was surprised by the interesting and original opening. Impressive cinematography, strong performances.
Interesting mix of narration and silent cinema style acting. A film where a glance or a knowing look says everything. Everything is expertly framed and it is an interesting historical document on French feeling towards German occupation so soon after the war. Did Tarrantino "borrow" the Nazi captain for Inglorious Basterds?
Isn't it awful when a stranger turns up to live in your house uninvited and to top it all off you find out that they are a Nazi? Isn't it awful that they keep talking to you and you stay silent in the hope that they'll get the hint and leave? Isn't it funny how things can turn out?
Crass, clunky, embarrassing. Impossible to imagine that the daughter is in any way taken in by the officer (his name escapes me). The scene where the narrator visits the officer at work is admittedly fairly amazing, and there are a few brilliant stylistic flourishes. But the whole thing is just too clumsy and heavy handed. I loathed it
an unusual first film from melville, all atmosphere and little narrative, with two characters who are almost silent and one who cannot stop talking. there seems to be almost a love story, or at least something never quite revealed. wonderful photography of the faces of the three actors.
A rare perspective of a Nazi's dawning realisation of what he has signed up for and the difference between his vision of the world and that of his ruthless colleagues. Neither justifications for power over others are democratic and one served the other. Surreal direction.