Silence de la mer, Le

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

France| 1947. English subtitles. Black and white. 86 mins.

For his extraordinary first feature Melville adapted Vercors’ classic Resistance novella, overcoming the writer’s misgivings by agreeing to show the film to a ‘jury’ of eminent Resisters. When a German officer is billeted to their house, an old man and his niece decide to remain resolutely silent, though they are captivated by the erudite officer’s nightly monologues. With talented newcomer Henri Deca’ at the camera, Melville created starkly beautiful images that anticipated the work of Robert Bresson, and an elegiac tribute to a symbolically resisting France.

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