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Triple Bill: Jean-Pierre Melville

MUBI Special

We are thrilled to present three masterpieces from the French filmmaker who re-invented genre cinema for modern (and modernist) audiences: Jean-Pierre Melville.

Starting off with Le silence de la mer, an eerie depiction of life under the Occupation, as well as a major influence on the French New Wave, we continue with his third feature When You Read This Letter, a love triangle starring Juliette Gréco and Philippe Lemaire as a seedy homme fatal. Our triple bill concludes with Two Men in Manhattan, a jazz-infused noir set in the streets of New York City.

Two Men in Manhattan

Jean-Pierre Melville France, 1959

Paying homage to the city of New York after dark—its burlesque halls, neon signs, and smokey jazz bars—Jean-Pierre Melville marries B-movie grit with his trademark existentialism in this sketchy moral tale. An overlooked gem that marked the French auteur’s one and only leading role appearance.

When You Read This Letter

Jean-Pierre Melville France, 1953

Even if Jean-Pierre Melville’s third feature was not a personal project but one that he used to fund his own studio in Paris, his film noir style and his existential interest in moral decay come to the fore in this love triangle. Starring Juliette Gréco and Philippe Lemaire as a seedy homme fatal.

Le silence de la mer

Jean-Pierre Melville France, 1949

Jean-Pierre Melville’s feature filmmaking career began with this eerie depiction of life under the Occupation, portraying a small, but potent, act of resistance. This adaptation of a cult novella—due to its clandestine publication in 1942!—is considered as a major influence on the French New Wave.

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