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 Jean-Pierre Melville

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Join date : 2009-09-04

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PostSubject: Jean-Pierre Melville   Jean-Pierre Melville I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 16, 2009 10:07 pm

Jean-Pierre Melville (20 October 1917 – 2 August 1973) was a French filmmaker. Born Jean-Pierre Grumbach, he later adopted the pseudonym Melville as a tribute to his favorite American author, Herman Melville.
Born in Paris, France, Melville served in World War II and fought in Operation Dragoon. When he returned from the war he applied for a license to become an assistant director, but was refused. Without this support, he decided to direct his films by his own means.

He became an independent film-maker, owning his own studios, and became well known for his tragic, minimalist films noirs, such as Le Samouraï (1967) and Le Cercle rouge (1969), starring major, charismatic actors like Alain Delon (probably the definitive 'Melvillian' actor), Jean-Paul Belmondo and Lino Ventura. His directorial style was influenced by American cinema and fetishized accessories like weapons, clothes and especially hats.

His independence and his 'reporting' style of film-making (he was one of the first French directors to use real locations regularly) were a major influence on the French New Wave film movement.


Jean-Pierre Melville Delon_melville

Melville's films have the precision of a scalpel and the intensity of full-blown melodrama without being defined or 'restrained' by the coolness of one or the histrionics of the other. They are contradictory works in which the pulse of life appears to be pumped in and withdrawn at the same time.


Jean-Pierre Melville Alain-delon-le-samourai-michele-roohani-blue-corridor

And to Melville, the fate of the gangster-movie hero is inseparable from his style or his morality: it's part of the form he occupies, just as his Cadillac and his chivalrous manners are. A man has no choice; if he's in a gangster picture, he looks at certain way, behaves a certain way, and dies a certain way. Genre is destiny – and ethics. In fact, Melville's films express a philosophy that only a Frenchman could have dreamed up – and only a movie-mad Frenchman at that: it's genre existentialism
Stephen Schiff, “Bob le Flambeur (1955)

Jean-Pierre Melville 62495350wf2

Jean-Pierre Melville has been hailed as the father of the French gangster film. Certainly, his gangster films are probably the films for which he is best known, on a par if not better than anything which Hollywood produced. Yet the world of the anonymous gun-toting hoodlum occupies only a part of his oeuvre.

The one unifying theme in Melville’s film is not crime, it is loyalty to one’s comrades and a respect for a self-imposed code of honour. This is as apparent in Les enfants terribles (1949), a story about an almost incestuous relationship between a brother and sister, as it is in Le Samouraï (1967), his most famous film. The same theme underpins the crime thriller Bob le flambeur (1955) and the wartime drama L’armée des ombres (1969). This notion of loyalty and honour appears to be very much part of the Melville psyche and almost certainly derived from his involvement with the French Resistance

Jean-Pierre Melville Book1

Classical cinema, basically, had to do with heroes, so-called modern cinema is to do with grubs. I have always refused to go along with this regression… I always arrange my characters – my 'heroes' – to conduct themselves within their environment, whatever it might be, the way I would conduct myself […] To be frank, I'm only able to become interested in characters who reflect some aspect of myself. Egocentric, paranoiac, megalomaniac? No: quite simply the natural authority of the creator.

Sences of cinema




Film de France

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