ARMY OF SHADOWS
L’ARMEE DES OMBRES
1969, Rialto Pictures, 145 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Arguably director Jean-Pierre Melville's most personal film (he fought in the French underground during World War II), this shattering portrait of the early days of the French Resistance is not so much a crime film as it is a fascinating companion to the director’s more-famous thrillers. The dark, fatalistic tone and the themes are all there from Melville’s noirs: betrayal, the loss of honor and the mechanics of brutality. Legendary tough-guy Lino Ventura stars in what Melville called “a nostalgic pilgrimage back to a certain period which profoundly marked my generation.” With Simone Signoret and Paul Meurisse.


LE SAMOURAÏ
1967, Janus Films, 101 min, France/Italy, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Director Jean-Pierre Melville’s best-known film stars Alain Delon as uber-cool assassin Jeff Costello, roaming the nasty streets of Paris looking for the slugs who betrayed him. PULP FICTION, HEAT, THE KILLER - this is where neo-noir truly begins, in the film’s steely, artificial blues and grays, in the alien beauty of Delon’s hitman. “A prose poem of silences and gestures interrupted by the occasional crack of a gun and a whispery sigh.” - Manohla Dargis, L.A. Weekly.


BOB LE FLAMBEUR
1956, Rialto Pictures, 98 min, France, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Inspired by John Huston’s THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, Melville’s classic film is less a true noir than (in the director’s words) “a comedy of manners” - a romantic meditation on Montmartre, faithless women, old pros and casinos waiting to be knocked over. Suffused with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia, BOB was “a letter to a Paris which no longer existed.”


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