Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville
Written by Jean-Pierre Melville based on the novel by Pierre Lesou
I like French films, pretentious boring French films, I like French films two tickets s’il vous plait
The second of the DVDs I hired from Aro St Video shop. This one is a French Noir from the early sixties. It’s steeped in the tropes of the genre: men in trenchcoats and hats, slow atmospheric music, double talk and stoolies.
Plus… veiled homoerotic comments, although that may be me viewing it weirdly and an issue with the subtitles. It’s hard to say.
This really made me think of the book I bought at Book Soup last year – The Cutie, which was about a mob man investigating a murder. This movie is about a just-released-con being strong armed by the police to give them information. The other lead is Silien who is already a police informer and trying to get the right information to feed the police while protecting the people he actually cares about. Everyone in it is so damn cool. Cool and collected.
It’s a very convoluted film, switching between the two leads Maurice and Silien without warning – which was made more difficult to follow because they looked and dressed very similarly. There was casual brutishness and gorgeous massive cars and fantastic sets, but I found it difficult to really immerse myself in. I suspect that there are better Noir films out there.
Does it make me love the people? No, I don’t think so. It wasn’t so much a study of humanity as a series of very tough men doing tough things and talking hard and double crossing each other. Then a ton of shootings.
Bechdel test: We have two named women – Therese and Anita but they are never spoken talking to anyone but men. It’s not really a surprise to be honest.
Best line: I can’t quote directly but me and Blair both enjoyed Silien insisting that a fence finger his jewels at gunpoint. The fence was all, ‘it’s fine, I can see them from here… they’re worth a lot’ and Silien insisting ‘handle them!’
Oh the entendres …
State of Mind: Everyone was very shooty. I feel it did exactly what it set out to do but I am underwhelmed.