Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Samouraï (Take I)

Watch carefully and you may be blown away by Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samouraï (1967). In the memorable dreamscape of this noir masterpiece, Alain Delon rocks the house stealthily. 

As with several of Melville's movies, you can "see" the continuity in filmmaking history, from American gangster sagas and crime dramas before and offerings by, say, David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino afterward. And in keeping with Melville's experience in the underground during World War II, again there's only a matter of degree in differentiating the types of operational tactics used by police and criminal, organized or otherwise. 
In Le Samouraï, the police employ all sorts of surveillance and interrogation techniques, while criminals use evasive maneuvers and stonewalling to avoid lockup or death. This near-equivalency comes by direct comparison: while Costello (the hitman played by Delon) uses a large set of special keys to steal cars, police use a large set of special keys to break into and enter Costello's apartment to plant a bug. 

As is often the case with Melville, Le Samouraï showcases a dazzling effort that works the mind and senses subliminally as well as superficially.

Today's Rune: Signals.     

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I love a good dreamscape type of sequence.