Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Army of Shadows

Sunday night I made the trek down to Key Cinema's to see the restored print of Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows

The film is only in Indianpolis through Thursday, but it really is a must see. The story is pretty simple. We follow a group of French Resistance fighters over a 4 month period on Nazi occupied France. This isn't a shoot them up thriller by any means though. The tension is definitely present throughout the film, but there are very rarely any moments of release. Any victories are small, nearly even unoticeable, any losses are tragic.

There are maybe 4-5 primary characters that we follow throughout and they operate under alias's. They don't have a glamorous life by any means. They operate against a bleak grey landscape. They are in hiding most the time. They can't tell even their loved ones of teh work they are doing. If they are caught they are tortured, if they die, they will die an anonymous death. If one of their comrades or friends turns, they need to kill them. This isn't a James Bond espionage thriller.

History tells that Melville was actually a fighter in the resistance, which gives this film an extra whiff of authenticity. The story itself is chracter driven but the most memorable scenes are scenes of silence when the actors convey more with their eyes than any dialogue Melville could have wrote. Some of those scenes I'd like to talk about but I think hold the most power if you don't know they are coming.

As I said this is only here in Indy for a few more days. And Key Cinema's isn't really that far out of anyone's way, just off I-65. If you have a chance to see it, definitely take the opportunity.

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