Army of Shadows

I never remember plots in movies. I remember how they make me feel and I remember emotions and I remember visual things that I’ve seen, but my brain can never connect the dots of how things go together.
— Paul Thomas Anderson
  image via Pinterest.

image via Pinterest.

I saw Jean-Pierre Melville's 'Army of Shadows' at Film Forum in the summer of 2015, and I mostly recall the plot. It is about the French Resistance, and explores the emotional and physical tolls of espionage. But what struck me most about the film - and still resonates with me today - is the quality of the imagery and the filmmaking. I saw the trailer for the movie while I was at Film Forum for a different screening, and found it to be extraordinarily well-done and intriguing. I saw the film the with no other context other than the trailer, and was pleasantly surprised with my enjoyment.

The imagery in the film is simultaneously powerful and understated - never showy, but always memorable. I often find it difficult to describe to people the aesthetic that draws me to certain cinematography, so I am glad I can share this film as a close representation of my visual taste.

If you're in New York City, Film Form is running a retrospective of Melville's work through May 11th. I have only seen this one film from Melville - I am excited to see more. And I'll definitely revisit 'Army of Shadows.'

- JG

  image via  Evan E. Richards  (a great resource for stills). One of my favorite shots from the film.

image via Evan E. Richards (a great resource for stills). One of my favorite shots from the film.