Starting this May our screens will be graced by the stylish and effortlessly cool cinema of director Jean-Pierre Melville. While his Paris contemporaries rewrote the rules of modern filmmaking with the Nouvelle Vague, Melville obsessively studied the American noirs of the 40’s and 50’s to construct an oeuvre of crime films that in their own right inspired a subsequent generation of auteur filmmakers including Michael Mann, Quentin Tarantino and John Woo.
Melville created a world of bleak greys, blues and blacks where hardened career criminals lived by a rigorous (Bushido) code of honor, chasing that final score in the face of capture or death. Melville utilized silence as a cinematic device and always shunned dialogue if a meaningful look would suffice. Together with the impeccable fashion (and filterless cigarettes) donned by his protagonists his films exist in a shadowy world of their own. A world that we enter by the way of five features of noir perfection. All films are French spoken with English subtitles.