If,like me, all you knew of Melville were his gangster pics of men in trechcoats and fedoras planning their heists that invariably go wrong, and came to this film late, boy are you in for a surprise!
This film about faith (the need for, the lack of...) and the flesh (the desire of the young woman who is the protagonist in this film, set in wartime France, for her young handsome confessor priest)achieves spiritual lift off that even Robert Bresson would have been proud of.
It tells you that Melville, had he shaken off his American film noir infatuations, could have worked across any genre and achieved perfection. Here was a guy who KNEW cinema.
If you were a Melville fan for Le Samourai, or Le Circle Rouge, this film will double up you admiration. A masterpiece!