Army Of Shadows (L'Armée Des Ombres)

Mark ARMY OF SHADOWS

6/6
10
91%
5/6
1
9%
4/6
0
No votes
3/6
0
No votes
2/6
0
No votes
1/6
0
No votes
0/6
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No votes
 
Total votes: 11
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Chevalier Bayard
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Army Of Shadows (L'Armée Des Ombres)

Postby Chevalier Bayard » Sun 29 Jan, 2006 14:41

After The Red Circle and Léon Morin, Priest, today I introduce you to another Jean-Pierre Melville's movie: Army Of Shadows / L'Armée Des Ombres.
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Released in 1969, Army Of Shadows is, after Le Silence De La Mer (1949) and Léon Morin, Priest (1961), the third movie directed by Melville which takes place during the Occupation of France during World War II. A time Jean-Pierre Melville knows very well having been himself a member of the Résistance during that time. "Melville" was indeed the surname he took when he arrived in London in 1943, in tribute to Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick. His real name was Jean-Pierre Grumbach.


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As soon as the novel "L'Armée Des Ombres" has been released by Joseph Kessel in 1943, Melville was interrested about adapting it to cinema. It took him more than 25 years to realize his wish. Here is what I said to an interview then:
Jean Pierre Melville wrote:
"je l'ai porté en moi 25 ans et 14 mois exactement. Il fallait que je le fasse et que je le fasse maintenant, complétement dépassionné, sans le moindre relent de cocorico. C'est un morceau de ma mémoire, de ma chair" "I've carried it for exactly 25 years and 14 months. I had to do it now, heat totally taken out, without the slightest stench of cocorico(*). It's a piece of my memory, of my flesh" (*)"cocorico" is translated in english by "cock-a-doodle-doo": the rooster's song (the rooster being the emblem for France)


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Army Of Shadows takes place in 1942 and follows the dialy activities of a French Résistance group. But in Army Of Shadows, the Résistants are not the adventurous, enlighted young heroes we are often to see in Cinema. No, in Army Of Shadows they are common people, common people who are not driven by a especially revolutionary mind, political convictions or philosophical ideal. They do what they do because they have to, because they can't stand the Occupation and simply cannot "deal with it". They just have to work against it in a way or another. They then enter in the clandestine world of Résistance and then have to deal with the constant fear of being taken by the enemy; knowing that this could happen with a simple police raid or because of one of their members' betrayal; knowing that even they could be tortured and brought to the breakpoint where they might betray their owns(this betrayal calling a definitive sanction by the Résistance). They know their limits and learn to push them a little bit farer day by day.


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None is unconscious of the dangers and of their own weakness. With many fixed plans which reinforce the impact of the travelling, with some astonishing closeups on the actors eyes through which we see soo much, with a great mastering of the time, with the deliberate choice of not giving any name of any german soldier and therefore increasing the perception of the Occupant as a single entity, the discret but nevertheless obvious allusions to Vichy's government which prevent us to forget this "veil entity" go farer than the single german uniforms, ... Jean-Pierre Melville manages to make the audience clearly percieves the amazing tensions these men are dealing with. The doubts and the fear which constantly persecute them. The audiences clearly sees what finally make these ordinary people become true heroes. The audiences also sees what were the true main tasks of the Résistance: mostly providing informations to the allies, organizing ralliement between the different unorganized faction, arming them and training them with all the logistic problems that implies, ..., and keeping secrets may it be at the cost of his life.

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If the casting of Army Of Shadows is already one of the best Jean-Pierre Melville could have at that time with actors like Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassel (the father of Vincent) and Paul Meurisse to give just their names. Nevertheless, with his very special talent Nau has already introduced you to in his review of The Red Circle, Jean-Pierre Melville manages to get the very best of his actors.


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During the shouting of Army Of Shadows the tensions between him and Lino Ventura had growed so much that the two of them we're not anymore speaking to each other, only communicating through their assistants. Maybe it is anyway this contained wrath which has given Lino Ventura this aura, the role of Philippe Gerbier being without any doubt one of his very very best among an already amazing actor's career. And the other actors are all as good with a special mention to Simone Signoret who manages with an amazing gaze to make all the tensions grows to their paroxysm, summarizing all about what makes them doomed heroes.


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Army Of Shadows / L'Armée Des Ombres is for sure one of the very best movies of Jean-Pierre Melville, and without any doubt, one of the most clever and brilliant movies about the Résistance during World War II. Getting rid of all the heroic stuff of the usual action movies, Melville manages to make his characters more real than all the others we've been used to see. The fact is, being more real, these characters do appear a lot more heroic than all the rest. I can't give this movie another mark than 6/6 as it is a masterpiece which all should see once, just to refresh our minds about this dark period of our history and its real heroes.

Chevvie

EDIT: thanks to Rawhide I just add a technical fic for the movie ;)
Armée des ombres, L' (1969) Director: Jean-Pierre Melville Genre: Drama / War TagLine: Runtime: 136 min / Spain:140 min / UK:145 min Country: France / Italy Language: French Color: Color (Eastmancolor) SoundMix: Mono Certification: Finland:K-16 / Spain:18 / Sweden:15 / UK:AA (original rating) / UK:AA (1978) / UK:12A (re-rating) (2005) Cast:

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Prelati
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Re: The Shadow Army (L'Armée Des Ombres)

Postby Prelati » Sun 29 Jan, 2006 23:40

Chevalier Bayard wrote:I can't give this movie another mark than 6/6 as it is a masterpiece which all should see once, just to refresh our minds about this dark period of our history and its real heroes.


Nothing to add (6/6, yep).

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Postby Liewen » Tue 31 Jan, 2006 17:42

I'm very proud of being the one who showed Chevalier Bayard this movie :)

Everything was said. This is not a movie about extraordinary mighties heroes. This is a movie about ordinary people, making their daily routine, just making their jobs. A heroe's job.

Indeed, the zoom made on the last gaze of Simone Signoret is a masterpiece, one of hte best movies scenes ever.

I also like the way Jean-Pierre Melville made his movie kinda monochrome, giving the impression everything in daily ocupied France is grey and/or brown, that even color lost its substance. It is only once in London we can see strong shades of red.

6/6, of course

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Postby carloman » Sat 11 Feb, 2006 15:43

this movie is the best on the french undergroung during WWII because like said liewin, heroes are ordinary people a university's teatcher, an ingenior, a worker, a student, a family mother.

they gave all to their country.
Far of political machination, stratégic conception.
fighting against barbary but also again the easy choise "to do nothing and to wait".

to remind : this movie was shown before the book of anthony cave brown about the british concept on the secret war (operation fortitude )
Liewin : I don't remember the english title (histoire de la guerre secrete : le rempart des mensonges).
gardes ta foi en dieu et ta poudre au sec
keep your faith in God and your powder dry

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Postby Liewen » Sun 12 Feb, 2006 00:24

The Original title was Bodyguard of lies , and the book was first published in 1976. A must-read :)

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Postby carloman » Sun 12 Feb, 2006 20:43

thanks a lot, dear liewin
gardes ta foi en dieu et ta poudre au sec

keep your faith in God and your powder dry

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Re: Army Of Shadows (L'Armée Des Ombres)

Postby JackSlater » Sat 16 May, 2009 10:32

I discovered it yesterday (I suck, I know), and OMFG :eek: :eek:
I was just astounished during the whole movie, a real tense, really cold, no spectacular thing, just a bunch of average joe who decide to fight, to risk their life, for a name, for their country. I thought Red Dawn was the most amazing movie about resistance...I was wrong.
I only regret that I didn't see it on a big screen

6/6 of course.
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