XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => The Director's Chair => Topic started by: SoNowThen on April 14, 2003, 01:45:46 PM

Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on April 14, 2003, 01:45:46 PM
Bob le Flambeur and Le Samourai are great. Un Flic is available on dvd, but I haven't seen that yet. Just got Silence of the Sea from the library (I think it's his first), and it's great!

Anybody seen anything else of his?

Thoughts/comments, etc....
Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on April 17, 2003, 12:32:04 PM
So what the hell? Nobody wants to talk about Melville?

Anybody seen The Red Circle?
Title: Melville
Post by: Cecil on April 17, 2003, 10:27:01 PM
ive only seen bob, and think it is a great film. truly amazing and inspiring.
Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on May 02, 2003, 10:06:24 AM
I know I'm beating a dead horse here, but...

I wanna buy the dvd of Un Flic, but it's expensive & I'll have to special order. Has anyone seen even 5 minutes of this movie? Would you recommend it? I'm on a bit of a Melville kick, and it's the only other dvd of his to buy.

BTW -- Cecil, thanks for posting. I was getting very sad that no one would reply.  (insert cry-face here.... but I don't know how)
Title: Melville
Post by: godardian on June 05, 2003, 12:58:12 AM
I saw Le Samourai almost a decade ago, when it was re-issued. I remember it being quite beautiful.

I just watched Bob le Flambeur last weekend. I loved its fatalistic cheeriness; it was like the step I missed between Rififi and the more avant-gardey New Wave stuff to come. I loved the voice-over; that opening was very cool. And the voice-over at the end was very effective, too, I thought ("Bob was doing what came naturally," something like that, which wouldn't work as an excuse for his dead buddies but really does somehow explain what he's doing to the viewer). I had a really good time watching it.
Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on June 05, 2003, 08:57:52 AM
!! Yeah, that's Melville. You always have a good time watching his stuff. He's the wonderful surrogate father of Godard and Tarantino, and sometimes when I watch Hard Eight, I see the massive Bob influence, so PTA too.

And you're so right about the link between Rififi and the early new wave stuff. Owning the Rififi dvd is so much cooler than actually watching the movie, Bob is the flick Rififi wishes it was. But I had to see Rififi before Big Deal On Madonna Street, so it's all okay.

If you like Melville, please check out his first: Silence Of The Sea. Simply beautiful.
Title: Melville
Post by: Gold Trumpet on June 05, 2003, 01:56:30 PM
I've only seen Bob Le Flambeur and felt more was achieved in the film Riffifi instead so I don't remember loving it, but I liked it. I've been planning to watch it again and may do so.

Also, The Red Circle is in strong rumor mold to get a dvd release by Criterion sometime around Christmas.

Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on June 05, 2003, 02:01:39 PM

I wanna see that so bad.
Title: Melville
Post by: Gold Trumpet on June 09, 2003, 04:49:10 PM
Also, sources have Le Samouri being released by New Yorker on dvd before the end of the year. Nothing more specific than that.

Title: Melville
Post by: The Silver Bullet on June 10, 2003, 08:36:27 AM
I enjoyed Le Samouri [B] and Un Flic [A] for what they were, but found them flawed [especially the former, which had such a sparkling yet sort of unjustified reputation]. But Le Cercle Rouge [A+++] is genius, in terms of suspense and in terms of style, and is the utter epitome of cool.

I really have to see Bob Le Flambeur before I can start passing further judgement on Melville, but his work is indeed inspiring, and even when it's flawed, should be seen.
Title: Melville
Post by: godardian on November 21, 2003, 05:29:27 PM
From my blog (http://trappings.blogspot.com):

"The films Jean-Pierre Melville is known for deal exclusively in tough guys who don’t talk and whose claustrophobic lives are predestined to end tragically; he’s like a Samuel Fuller without all the cigar-chomping, entertaining blather (but with the way-too-intellectual epigraph, this one from Buddha). Not that Le Cercle Rouge isn’t entertaining; in fact, beyond the fact that it most certainly is entertaining, I think you could get away with calling it a masterpiece. The plot is exceedingly simple: A just ex-con (Alain Delon), whose lover now belongs to a rival gangster, cares little enough for his own life or so-called freedom to get involved in a heist even before his actual release (he finds out about it from his prison guard). Meanwhile, a man on his way to the slammer rides a train through the French countryside while handcuffed to a worldly yet optimistic police officer, but makes a daring escape through the window. The two meet up and, along with a detoxing ex-cop who lives alone in a bare room with sickly green jail-bar wallpaper and the withdrawal spiders, snakes, lizards, and rats that come out of the closet (believe me, I was a human shudder by the time that particular little scene was over), carry off their heist. The heist has holes, though, and the police officer “wins” by finally busting up their little ring, but what he loses because of the way things go down- fair, law-abiding faith- is gone for good.

Melville’s film has a smooth, steely beauty; the simple, familiar plot is not so much drawn out as stretched and dissected to reveal its existential implications. As nearly always, the visual style is what truly tells the lion’s share of the story, and what we see here comprises a sort of symmetrical realism that is the visual equivalent of an iron fist in a velvet glove."
Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on December 31, 2003, 08:55:13 AM
Finally watched The Red Circle. Cool cool cool. Showed it to my friend who's not a movie geek. He really dug it. I'm glad about that. Style as substance.... whoo hoo!!

This reminded me kinda of Rififi (only waaayyyyyy better) and The Conformist in some parts...
Title: Melville
Post by: lamas on December 31, 2003, 10:24:36 AM
Yeah, I saw Le Cercle Rouge a couple weeks ago and thought it was fucking fantastic.  That's all I have to say.
Title: Melville
Post by: eward on January 14, 2004, 11:12:52 PM
just blind bought and watched bob le flambeur and GOD it is fucking amazing.....
Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on January 15, 2004, 08:51:37 AM
I just finished reading Melville On Melville. Lotsa good info for any fans of this most wonderful of directors...

We need more Melville movies on dvd! NOW!!! Criterion, I'm talking to you.
Title: Melville
Post by: You Never Got Me Down Ray on January 24, 2004, 09:32:24 PM
I haven't seen Le Samourai yet, but I want to real fucking bad. Is it even on dvd? I've never seen it around.

Bob is awesome, definitely insipring and ahead of its time. Le Cercle Rouge is excellent as well, I'm not sure which I like better, but probably Bob by a nose.

I have Un Flic, but have yet to watch it. When I do (I'll try to tomorrow) I will post whether it's worth it.

And I definitely agree dude, Criterion needs to get on top of more Melville films, especially Le Samourai. What the hell are they thinking???
Title: Melville
Post by: SoNowThen on January 25, 2004, 12:30:57 AM
They don't own the rights to Le Samourai. New Yorker does. And even though they're a small indie company, and I wanna like them, they are lazy, slipshod fucks when it comes to putting out dvds, much less actually making a decent dvd.

Les Enfant Terrible might get a dvd release this year, but ugh, it's the only blah Melville, but that's because he had Cocteau looking over his shoulder, nitpicking him.

Please tell us how Un Flic is, because I've heard the dvd is bunk quality, and that the movie's flawed, but damn, it's Melville, and I wanna blind buy it...
Title: Melville
Post by: You Never Got Me Down Ray on January 27, 2004, 11:37:03 PM
Quote from: SoNowThen
They don't own the rights to Le Samourai. New Yorker does. And even though they're a small indie company, and I wanna like them, they are lazy, slipshod fucks when it comes to putting out dvds, much less actually making a decent dvd.

Please tell us how Un Flic is, because I've heard the dvd is bunk quality, and that the movie's flawed, but damn, it's Melville, and I wanna blind buy it...

Yes, I know about the rights, it's just a shame. Hell, their dvds are so damn expensive, they should be able to get the rights, especially if New Yorker has never released it.

Anyways, I finished Un Flic and it was pretty good. As far as what I've seen you really can't go wrong with Melville. Sure, it's slightly flawed and not up to par with Cercle or Bob, but it was still good. The beginning is good, and while the middle is somewhat tedious at points (fuck, tedious isnt the right word, but yeah), it's definitely worth it in the end. It kinda builds you up to bring you down, then picks your ass up again. If you like Melville definitely check it out, just dont expect another JPM masterpiece. Still I give this a 7, which is pretty damn good. I definitely don't regret this purchase. As for the dvd quality, I watched it on my laptop and everything looks mediocre on it, so I can't say for sure, but I had no problem with it. Barebones though (trailer and bios only). Hope that helps a little.


EDIT: Still I give this a 7
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: Gamblour. on March 09, 2006, 09:24:50 AM
I just watched Le samourai, I bought this and Bob after watching Bob in one of my classes. I agree with whoever said, you just enjoy watching his films so much. There's something incredible hypnotic and transfixing about them. Le samourai is almost completely silent but never ever boring, purely visual and so fucking cool. How is a nearly silent film shot almost entirely in gray monochromatic so beautiful and engaging?

Anyhow, there are two points about the story I can't figure out. Minor SPOILAGe: When he steals the first car, he looks over at a woman. Is she seen again, and why do we get to see her? Second, when the blonde guy holds the guy to him in the house, Jef gets the gun and gets the address of Olivier Rey. Who is this person, and are they mentioned again?

Anyhow, I loved loved the film. Except the end. Well, nevermind, (SPOILER) I just realized it was his own version of hari kari, seppuku, whatever it's called.
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: tpfkabi on April 10, 2006, 10:09:30 PM
i blind bought Le Samourai and Le Cercle Rouge with the recent Deep Discount DVD sale.

i liked Le Cercle Rouge better. LS is almost cartoon-y at times.

(my view of it may also be a bit skewed because my friend who knows nothing about foreign film came over at the end and laughed at it).
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: I Don't Believe in Beatles on April 10, 2006, 10:18:20 PM
Ah, that reminds me.  In the most recent issue of FLM Magazine, I saw this:


From acclaimed French director Jean-Pierre Melville (Bob Le Flambeur, Le Cercle Rouge, Le Samourai), comes an epic of the French Resistance during World War II.  Never before released in the U.S., Melville's 1969 feature is based on the novel by Joseph Kessel (Belle de Jour) and the director's own wartime experiences.  Tough guy Lino Ventura (Elevator to the Gallows, Classe Tous Risques) stars as a resistance leader who is betrayed and, after escaping the Gestapo, seeks revenge on his traitor.  Co-starring Simone Signoret and Jean-Pierre Cassel.  New 35mm restoration.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/shadow_army/ says that it will have a theatrical release date of April 28... but only in NYC. 
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: grand theft sparrow on June 01, 2006, 09:41:43 PM
I just came back from seeing Army of Shadows at the Film Forum.  Outstanding.  It's the first Melville film I've seen and it's convinced me to seek out his entire filmography.  If you're in NYC this week, you've got to see this film.  Just bring a pillow to sit on... the Film Forum has the MOST UNCOMFORTABLE seats in just about any NYC theatre.

Spielberg HAD to have gotten his hands on a print of this film somewhere along the way because it's very hard to believe that it wasn't a direct influence on Munich.
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: JG on June 02, 2006, 09:44:56 PM
Ebert discusses Army of Shadows apart of "Great Movies" series:


Title: Re: Melville
Post by: JG on July 01, 2006, 07:58:08 PM
Please, if you have the chance, see Army of Shadows.  Its my third Melville and with this and Le Samourai and Bob, he's becoming one of my favorite directors.     Every shot feels so perfectly planned and executed.  There's no fluff in a Melville film.  He doesn't require words to characterize, rather he focuses on visuals to create this sense of isolation and desperateness that exists in his characters.  Its a pretty nice print too.   

I can't wait for the DVD either.  So whats next?  Le Cercle Rouge?  I have to see all his films. 
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: Ghostboy on July 01, 2006, 10:19:01 PM
I've seen Army Of Shadows twice now. Its the best film of the summer by far.
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: gob on July 04, 2006, 05:16:48 AM
Melville's a freakin legend.
I'm dying to see Army of Shadows and I missed it when it was re-shown at the NFT here in London. ARGH!
The only dvd I could find of it was a foreign one without english subtitles.
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: edison on March 15, 2007, 05:14:02 PM
Just saw Le Samourai yesterday afternoon and I was amazed. Very awesome. Makes me so mad that I never had the chance to check out Army of Shadows. Just have to wait till may for the criterion disc. Today I just found out about this:


How is this early flick of his compared to his later work?
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: Gold Trumpet on May 23, 2007, 11:56:41 PM
Wow, I just saw Army of Shadows. An admirer of Melville before, this film was flat out great. It took every positive of his style and married it to a story and subject worthy of his skills. The words above me do not lie. This film is a masterpiece.

This isn't just the best film I've seen by Melville. It's the best film with an array of other films that share similar narrative, subject and style. This goes from films like The Third Man, Rififi, and Le Trou to filmmakers like Robert Bresson (for his work in A Man Escaped), Jules Dassin and others.

America created the noir film. The French later pushed the envelope with it and created new bounds in story and narrative. Melville, for me, was the last breath of style to be taken from the genre. I thought he was style only. Army of Shadows is a wonderful reminder he wasn't. It's tragic his career was overshadowed by a movement like the French New Wave and then this film was destroyed by the French Press (especially Cahiers Du Cinema) for supposed De Gaulle sympathies. It's devastating Melville had to die in his 50s. It's a fucking shame his most personal work had to hide in the closest during his life. It makes you want to campaign for people to see this film.

I don't know. This is netflix rental that turned into an immediate buy. I'll likely expound more after a few more viewings.
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: JG on May 24, 2007, 12:49:05 AM
GT, is that the first time you've ever used "wow" on xixax? 
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: Gold Trumpet on May 24, 2007, 01:28:21 AM
GT, is that the first time you've ever used "wow" on xixax? 

My vocabulary is limited so doubtful, but a rare treat in watching a film because I didn't expect it to be this good.
Title: Re: Melville
Post by: SiliasRuby on February 14, 2009, 02:32:42 PM
I'm a huge fan of crime films and although I have 'le samaouri' I haven't seen it. I got 'Second Wind', also known as 'Deuxième souffle, Le' in the mail a couple days ago from netflix and I was blown out of my seat. Man, this film had everything that I love about gangster films in it and brought it to a level where the emotional punch at the end was worth it and felt very earned. Man, I got to more of his stuff.