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.
In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground. Paul has a deep affection for Dargelos, and later denies that there... See full summary »
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
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 »
And so Jean-Pierre Melville's career began with this very impressive feature debut. While not quite the same kind of film from him as I'm used to (keep in mind the only other Melville films I've seen are Le Deuxième Soufflé and Le Samouraï), it delivers every bit of quiet tension and restrained filmmaking I've come to love from this director. The vast majority of the film is either narration directly out of the book on which the film was adapted, or Howard Vernon delivering hauntingly beautiful monologues. Vernon's performance is flawless and never fails to draw you in. All of this great stuff aside,Le Silence de la Mer has some room to grow. Biggest issue being that it's basically a stage play. The medium is hardly utilized and it makes for a semi- dull viewing. This isn't the fault of Melville or anybody else, that's just what the source material calls for. As perfectly executed as Vernon's monologues were, I just can't help but feel that the story could have had so much more to offer. But this, again, is the fault of the author of the book, not Melville. All in all, Le Silence de la Mer is a very good start to Melville's career and definitely one not to let pass you by.
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