LE SILENCE DE LA MER
1949, Janus Films, 88 min, France, Dir: Jean-Pierre Melville

Based on the popular Vercors novel about occupied France, director Jean-Pierre Melville’s feature debut is largely set in a French home commandeered by the Nazis for one of their officers (Howard Vernon). The uncle (Jean-Marie Robain) and niece (Nicole Stéphane) who live there cooperate grudgingly, refusing to speak to their German guest, though over time his friendly overtures have their effect. Made outside the French studio system on a shoestring budget, with extensive use of location shooting and natural light, this involving drama helped plant seeds that would later blossom as the French New Wave.


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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