Thursday, October 21, 2010

1949 - LE SILENCE DE LA MER, aka The Silence of the Sea

Jean Pierre Melville filmed this World War II drama set during the occupation of France.  A German officer is billeted at the home of a Frenchmen living with his niece.  The film is essentially about the German trying to ingratiate himself into their lives. 

This is an interesting film.  The Frenchman and the niece decide to give the German the silent treatment, they literally do not speak throughout the entire film.   And, for a film set in occupied France the portrait of the German officer is unusually sympathetic.  The German completely believes that the two nations will mutually benefit from the occupation, culturally and socially.  The film is about his slow realization what  the actual effects of the occupation are doing to France.

Le Silence De La Mer is an impressive film from a great filmmaker at the beginning of his career.   The film was essentially shot on location in one room for very little money.    This is a great filmmaker demonstrating how to create a thoughtful and complex film with very limited resources.  Considering the extreme restraints, Melville made it visually and emotionally interesting.

Jean Pierre Melville was a filmmaker who always valued his independence throughout his career.  Melville's style was in the classic Hollywood tradition,  creating well constructed films on very small budgets.

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