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(Dec 11, 2017)
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Jean-Pierre Melville (1917 - 1974) is one of the most revered French film directors of all time. Born in Paris during WW1, he was to become a member of the French resistance in the Second World War, an experience which he drew on in his later career as a film director, routinely plunging his characters into an underworld of secrecy and deception. The reluctant godfather of the French New Wave, Melville's highly individual style was influenced by the ideas of existentialism and surrealism, but arguably his greatest debt was to classical American cinema, the traditions of which he wove with inimitable style into his quintessentially French films. Hailed by many as the father of the French gangster movie, he was inspired by the classic film noirs of 1930s and 40s Hollywood, imbuing many his films with a sense of menace and impending peril, creating a sinister underworld to be traversed by his ubiquitous gun-toting hoodlums.
This set contains six of his finest films, from his early bittersweet masterpiece, Bob Le Flambeur, to his final film, Un flic, his wonderfully fatalistic study of loss and deception; a fitting epitaph to one of the finest careers in contemporary cinema.
NEW Interview with first assistant director Volker Schlondorff - 20 minutes
BOB LE FLAMBEUR
NEW retrospective documentary by the film critic Dominique Maillet - 20 minutes
LEON MORIN PRETRE
NEW Master class with Philippe Labro (friend and apprentice of Melville) + Rémy Grumbach (Melville's nephew) - 59 minutes
LE CERCLE ROUGE
Interview with Le Cercle Rouge's first assistant director Bernard Stora - 30 minutes
Code Name Melville - 76 minutes
Interview with first assistant
director Bernard Stora - 30 minutes
Interview with novelist José Giovanni - 15 minutes
Présentation by Ginette Vincendeau 21'30
Army of Shadows
L'armée des ombres... le dessous des cartes" (Army of Shadows: the hidden side of the story) documentary - 87 minutes
Documentary featuring interviews with Un Flic's script supervisor Florence Moncorgé-Gabin and first assistant director Jean-François Delon -24 minutes
In the mood for Melville documentary - 52 minutes
24 Heures de la vie d'un clown - Melville short - 22 minutes
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The price point this 6 films set (paid (approx. $60 US) is eminently reasonable; I've paid more for other sets with less scope and quality. This Melville collection (as well as the Buñuel Box set concurrently offered by StudioCanal) ought to inspire my fellow Yanks to invest in multi-region DVD players. Ditto on many of BFI's first rate collections and restorations; 'Abel Gance's Napoleon' is a must-own for anyone with more than a passing fancy for cinema.)