Archive for November 11th, 2015


 © 2015 by James Clark

      Jean-Pierre Melville was active in the French Resistance during World War II. That fact entails a long freight train of supposition running from laudatory to immaculate. In 1969 he brought to light a fastidious and elegant film, Army of Shadows, dealing with that subject he knew so well and, presumably, wanted to say a lot about.

One nagging disclaimer within that envisaged march of social progress at heavy cost concerns the extensive track record, up to that date, of Melville’s works ardently conveying that, far from an army, the kind of integrity absorbing him takes the form of catastrophically isolated and almost utterly ineffectual partisans of a current of power not only precluded but not even noticed. To spotlight Melville’s endeavors, as inhering in his films, being positioned within that troubled but triumphant rise of so-called social justice is, it seems to me, to allow rhetoric to strangle (a most shadowy) reckoning. The title of our film today wields the upbeat term, army, and the downbeat term, shadows. Let’s try to comprehend what our remarkable guide was up to in linking those strange bedfellows. (more…)

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