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Showing posts from May 15, 2006

At the (Great!) Movies

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I saw Jean-Pierre Melville's epic Army of Shadows for the first time in the early 1970's in my "French period," that is, when I was for all practical purposes addicted to the French cinema (Godard, Truffaut, Louis Malles, Alain Resnais, Agnes Varda, etc). This is a very cool historical film noir has been newly restored and released in the U.S. for the first time and so I had an opportunity to see it again this week. What can I say? A stunning mastepiece by a master director (Le Cercle Rouge; Bob Le Flambeur; Le Samourai)and starring Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, and Claude Mann. It's about members of a Resistance cell in German-occupied France (it opens with a shot of German soldiers marching down the Champs-Elysees). Nick Schager in Slant magazine captures the central theme of the movie: As with so many of Melville's noirs, doom lies in wait for those reckless or foolish enough to deviate from their prescribed obligations and loyalties, and …