Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Army of Hombres

I thought I'd take this opportunity to write about a film that I think is a hands-down masterpiece. It's called "Armee des Ombres" (or The Army of Shadows) by a guy called Jean-Pierre Melville. I was sent the film a while ago and it sat on my bookshelf until fairly recently I watched it without knowing just how affecting it would be. It affected me so much I was proper affected right and I thought wow that's some effective affecting.

It's a story about a group of people involved with the French Resistance in World War 2. What makes it so arresting are the characters. Phillipe is the leader of a pocket of the resistance and his stony exterior and complete devotion to his cause make him a fascinating character, Paul Crauchet who plays him is absolutely perfect for the role. The pace is always at a slow rumble, there is always a sense of witheld energy which is very reminiscent of The Godfather. The two films also share similar cinematography; Army of Shadows is shot in a very saturated, static way which echoes the brilliant sense of "calm before the storm". Another brilliant thing about it is how little you feel you know Phillipe at the end, he is so witheld and self assured that you never see his breaking point, he never cracks.

Anyway, go and find it love it. What's mad is that when it came out it was universally panned, apparantly because it was seen be glorifying Charles de Gaulle. Then it got rediscovered in the 90's and everyone decided it was a masterpiece. Film critique is a fucking transient thing isn't it.


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