In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each... See full summary »
In a small town in occupied France in 1941, the German officer, Werner Von Ebrennac is billeted in the house of the uncle and his niece. The uncle and niece refuse to speak to him, but each evening the officer warms himself by the fire and talks of his country, his music, and his idealistic views of the relationship between France and Germany. That is, until he visits Paris and discovers what is really going on... Written by
Melville began filming without the rights to Vercors' novel; when Vercors heard of this, he met with Melville, who told him that if he did not like the film, he would burn the negative. Melville was also not in the screenwriters' or directors' unions and had difficulty in employing people and getting distribution. However, the film was an immense success, both critically and commercially and Vercors loved it. See more »
"Le Silence De La Mer" is a film based on the novel of the same name written by Jean Bruller which was published secretly in Nazi-occupied France. The film plays like a video-book of the novel as most of the story is told either through narration or monologues. The film's such patience-testing style is quickly suggested by its opening scene which plays as if it literally drops the viewer inside the novel.
The film is told through two point of views. An old french man, who lives with his niece, and seems to be quite content with wealth and art. The other viewpoint is the Nazi soldier who stays in their house for a quite period of time. The key to delve into the former's mind is by his narration, and the latter's is by his monologues. It's an interesting dynamic which really shines and gets its point across over the course of time.
"Le Silence De La Mer" is Melville's debut feature, and it's fascinating how clear he is about the subject and style of the film. It's no wonder that his later films grew to be even more tightly constructed.
The film opens with lines which suggest that the feature is in no way constructed to present as a solution to conflict between France and Germany, but I'm sure both Bruller and Melville, and the rest of us would have wondered, "..but what if?".
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