Le Silence de la Mer (1947)
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Average Rating: 3.9/5
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Le Silence de la Mer was based upon a popular wartime "underground" novel by Vercours. Most of the film is confined to the living room of a bourgeois French family. Howard Vernon plays Von Ebrennae, a cultured Nazi officer who is billeted in this household. As the residents stare at him in mute contempt, Von Ebrennae eloquently articulates his philosophy of life, which turns out to be pretty odious at times. Director Jean-Pierre Melville assembled La Silence de la Mer outside the established
Apr 22, 1949 Wide
Feb 7, 1997
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Filmed in the most daring way imaginable, using a new cinematic language of transient expressions and glances, the film was a root influence on Bresson and the whole French New Wave.
if the niece's silence gives intimate expression to a whole nation's resistance, Werner too, far from being demonised as a villain, himself becomes a dramatic embodiment of the tensions within occupied France.
The Occupation and its effects on people's emotional lives are recurrent themes in Melville's work, which has inspired the likes of Bresson, Astruc, Resnais and Rohmer.
Jean-Pierre Melville's great, too little-remembered debut, and a classic example of circumstance leading to aesthetic advance.
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