Army of Shadows

Restored Print!

(L'armée des ombres). This drama of the French Resistance is Joseph Kessel's novel translated through director Jean-Pierre Melville's personal recollections of the period, and of course his extraordinary cinema technique. Lino Ventura stars as a member of a Resistance unit in the early years of the war, when nobility and recklessness were called for in equal measure. He wears a suit in prison, but sangfroid masks purity of mission: he'll give you his last cigarette or execute you, depending. In a marvelous cast, Simone Signoret stands out as a master of disguises-bomb-maker, whore, old woman, collaborationist nurse, and, fatally, mother. Great escapes, intricate plotting, superb suspense in secret acts of courage: following all of Melville's great gangster films, all the experiments in form, here is the original underworld. Army of Shadows is the Melville blueprint, revealed post-construction.

Army of Shadows is repeated on Saturday, January 13.

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