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
According to French cinema scholar Denitza Bantcheva, who wrote a book about the filmmaker, Jean-Pierre Melville first read the 1942 novel by Vercors (Jean Bruller), upon which this film is based, not in the original French, but in a hastily-prepared English translation in 1943 in London, to which Melville had temporarily fled due to his activities in the French Resistance. He immediately decided that his first feature film would be an adaptation of this book. In France itself, the book had to be distributed clandestinely, due to the fact that Vercors was himself a member of the Resistance. 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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I am surprised that this movie is so little known (I must confess I did not know much about it either when I first went to see it). I think it is one of the best movies made in Europe in the first years after the WW2. It is quiet and simple, but very powerful at the same time. Without any killing or death in it, this film shows the absurdness and tragedy of war better than any other I have seen. At the same time, for me this was a very good insight in the spirit of French resistance. But above all, it is about a collapse of dreams, a conflict between one's conscience and ideology, and a realisation of how senseless human feelings, aspirations and the whole existence is made by the war. Very deep and impressive. I felt like crying at the end.
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