1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ...
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A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.
1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von Ebrennac, to live in for as long as he is in the area on Nazi business. As a figurative and literal silent protest against the Nazis and the officer, the uncle and niece do whatever is required of them while the officer is in their house, however they do not acknowledge his presence, living largely in silence whenever he is around. The officer treats the housing situation with care, like he is a guest. Although not a nightly occurrence, the officer begins an evening routine with his reluctant hosts: in his civilian clothes, he knocks on the door of the room in which they have convened for the evening, walking in shortly thereafter knowing that no acknowledgment will be made for him to enter, he visits with them for no more than five minutes before he bids them a good evening as he exits. During these ...Written by
The reference to Treblinka is not in the novel but was added by Melville to show that some German officers knew about the Shoah . See more »
Werner von Ebrennac:
There's a lovely fairy tale that I've read, that you're read, that everyone has read. I don't know if the title is the same in your country. We call it, "Das Tier und die Schöne", "Beauty and the Beast". Poor Beauty, she is at the mercy of the Beast, powerless and imprisoned. She is subjected to his implacable, heavy presence all day long. Beauty is proud, dignified, she has become hard. But the Beast is better than he seems. He doesn't have the finest manners. He is tactless, brutal. He seems ...
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"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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