L'Armée des ombres (Army in the Shadows)
(Unrated, 2:24:48, Released 1969)
|Genres:||Art House & International, Drama|
|Release Date:||Sep 12, 1969|
|DVD Release Date:||May 15, 2007|
|Starring:||Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret, Serge Reggiani, Claude Mann, Christian Barbier, Paul Crauchet, Alain Dekock, Alain Libolt|
|Directed by:||Jean-Pierre Melville|
|Synopsis:||In this war drama set during the French Resistance of WW II, a courageous fighter escapes Gestapo headquarters and returns to Marseille. There he and his gang capture a traitor and throttle him. They then try to rescue a Resistance fighter in Lyons. As they do so, the hero is again captured and his partner killed. Again the hero escapes just before he is executed. He then finds that a female partner has been captured. To avoid having her daughter forced to work in a Nazi brothel, the woman has informed upon the others. She is then released and subsequently killed by another Resistance fighter for revenge. The screenplay is based on Joseph Kessel's novel and became filmmaker Jean Pierre Melville's magnum opus. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
June 2, 2012
The French Resistance is where this examination begins but there's not a single scene showing a train being blown up or lines being furtively cut in the dead of night ... rather it's a look at the interior damage wrought when choosing to resist tyranny at all, the isolation, the loneliness, the agonizing fear of trusting yourself. Must see.
January 19, 2012
Unembellished and matter-of-fact. Melville masterfully spotlights the French Resistance without martyring the Nazi regime that spawned it.
March 10, 2009
a great depiction of french resistance, melville blends substance with his usual stylistic approach. the film falters at many points with a lack of clarity and direction to the shifty plot, and the film is almost entirely without emotion, but it has striking images and flawless direction in its portrayal of horrific events. overall very good film.
July 24, 2008
Heroism to Melville isn't the pretty picture Hollywood gives us in its' sanitized war films. This is a grim film where those pursuing a noble cause don't have the opportunity to even enjoy it as they must be prepared for the possible worst.
Melville's filmmaking style is slow and deliberate giving the viewer an anti-heroic account of the early days of French resistance to the Nazi Occupation which is both restrained and terrifyingly tense.
March 9, 2008
This Movie is from the Criterion
Collection, Spine Number 385. This movie was made 39 years ago, and was voted best film of 2006. About the French Resistance during World War II. A true Masterpiece. A Must See. In French with English Subtitles. Only bad part is the German Soliders have no subtitles. Will find its way in my collection.
September 22, 2007
For the most part this movie is nooze fucking city! The first twenty minutes and the last half hour were the only parts of this movie that really had me going. The cinematography had its high points, but that was about it. Between this and Le Samourai, I'm going to make it a point to run in the opposite direction whenever I hear Jean-Pierre Melville's name mentioned.
July 5, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]"Army of Shadows" starts out in 1942 in occupied France as civil engineer Philippe Gerbier(Lino Ventura) is being brought to a prison camp where he is imprisoned with men of almost every nationality. The only other person he considers recruiting to the French Resistance is a young Communist but before they can finalize their escape plans, Gerbier is transferred to the Gestapo. While waiting at Gestapo headquarters with another prisoner, Gerbier makes a daring escape.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]In Marseilles, Gerbier is the chief of a resistance cell that includes Felix(Paul Crauchet), Le Bison(Christian Barbier) and new recruit Le Masque(Claude Mann). Together, they share the unpleasant task of killing a traitor to the cause. Later, Felix meets an old friend, an ex-pilot, Jean-Francois(Jean-Pierre Cassel), and recruits him to the Resistance.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Army of Shadows" is a very compelling epic thriller about the French Resistance during World War II, told from different points of view. The movie wisely chooses to focus on the everyday details of the characters' non-glamorous heroics, thus giving the movie an honest and authentic feel. [/font]
fb721890245April 10, 2012
Incredible tale of the Resistance which wasn't available for viewing in North America until a few years ago but was still considered one of the best films of the year when it was finally released. An intricate story that involving patriots and those who snitch on them..with graphic results.
fb208103125June 20, 2011
Melville's L'Armee des ombres (Army in the Shadows) is a sad and truly realistic film about the French Resistance fighters of WW II. It notes and graphically shows their struggles and the everyday risks that they take in order to stand up to the Germans. The film isn't an action heavy one but more of a fleshing out of day to day lives and missions of the Resistance Fighters. While there are some scenes of extreme brutality and images of the results of torture on our heroes. In the end, the film feels very personal and tells the stories of the men and women (the incredible Mathilde played by Simone Signoret) and the lengths they went to in order to stand up for themselves and their country. Recommended!
fb20312798July 30, 2010
More films need to be made about the French Resistance during WWII. It shows that war with all the moral complexities that really existed. The fact that it is seen as the "good war" is a preposterous notion. People on all sides did some really fucking terrible things in the name of their country. As for the film, its a meticulously crafted thriller that keeps you on your toes at all times.
August 2, 2009
The price of espionage troops.Ventura,Signoret,Meurisse,the all-star cast of Melville was ready to drum the front-line of A-class film-making,of which the remains of it some decades later are distant echoes,entangled subplots,why...I'll admit only Hitler was missing!
April 7, 2009
Some really beautiful photography, but it just never pulled me in.
June 22, 2008
After a disastrous release in France, this Jean-Pierre Melville film was never distributed abroad and it lingered in obscurity until it finally got an American theatrical release two years ago and was distributed on DVD by Criterion. With that release it got a major critical re-discovery and was hailed the best movie of 2006 by a few smart-ass critics. It's great to see this was re-discovered as it really is a great film, and one of the best looks at a resistance movement I've seen on film. A great thriller that reminded me a lot of The Conformist, and probably a predecessor of the 70's paranoid thriller.
August 3, 2011
What keeps blowhards masked and swinging high and low in the dead of the cold, cold night? Not the ambition of a sunny tomorrow. Would-be fact, being so piled in shit it's tough telling where things fall. The beating pulp of a center to Jean-Pierre Melville's conspiracy sizzler "Army of Shadows" takes the wings of World War II, and shoots from there. Hot fuzz has 'em pegged before daybreak: that high noon of the French Resistance where especially the innocent were choked by their potential to make more than emotion move, the murky underground mafia of patriots who come to off heads while ensuring operative intellect excels. It's the drawing line.
Watch Melville build silence on the skyline, a contra champ of minimalist rumble. His go-to chump is Gestapo refugee Gerbier (a masterful Lino Ventura), who joins an anti- sting group and becomes a haunted godfather. I'll say no more. Let Melville -- adapting for the screen the novel by Joseph Kessel -- weed you through the melancholy. If you're smart, you'll make your stake. In "Army of Shadows", everything that can go wrong does, with lasting echo. But Melville's the one to prove real influence calls for volunteer. Gerbier wears his forbearance like skin to be shed. Under him government and history are one. Still his eyes read hoping redemption, unkempt style aloft on the winds of change, with permanence all but ready to die on every last fighting word.
April 21, 2010
It's a tense and lofty duty to direct a film so dispassionately honest about rebellion movements, especially in the middle of a rather serious one in France, the country of origin for this dark and gloomy film. Leave it to the French to make a film about a resistance movement, where the means and actions of the movement are kept on the back burner. It works, and Army of Shadows becomes a darkly beautiful look at the conflicted morals and damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't nature of France during World War 2.
October 17, 2008
I got a little lost watching this. Characters got mixed up, and I couldn't always tell what people were up to. I'm sure if I watched it again I'd figure it out, but it didn't inspire a second viewing.
February 15, 2008
The best film ever? well maybe not. But definitely the one that touches me the most. A great feature about how the giant machinery of war crushes heartlessly the little men trapped beneath it.
The most important thing in this film is how it depicts courage without heroism. The characters are not some kind of supermen. They are fallible and above all fear is constantly present as it seems humidity and cold. Even the sun looks wet, cold and fearful in this film.
In this film characters start being combatants out of free will and for noble cause, but they only go on fighting because that is the only way for them to survive. In a way, their fight is much closer from the gangsters v. police struggle than from the image of war cinema usually presents.
All the characters speak low as if they were afraid that death may hear them and pay attention to them. Moreover, the storyline is not constructed as any other. Instead of having a well structured narration leading gradually to a climax, here each scene is a new episode and the characters are somewhat astonished and happy to be still alive at that moment. They enjoy each moment simply because they are still breathing.
I also loved the modesty and the seamlessness of the camera work. There is no music and next to no artistry as it should when men and women are looking at their own death.
June 26, 2007
Jean-Pierre Melville's opus about French Resistance fighters of WWII is his most personal film. It is stylish, grim and so meticulously perfect. This is even better than Le Samourai. Melville draws on his own experiences as a Resistance fighter and combines them with his own meticulous attention to detail to give his film unparalleled authenticity. Not a single shot is wasted. The cast's performances are just as restrained as the film itself. Melville gives touches of his gangster films to this film as well as a fatalistic and existential feel to the story. There is no sentimentalism in this masterpiece, just hard hitting realism and an insightful look at heroism and patriotism.
June 7, 2007
This movie is SOOO good but SOO sad. It's incredibly done. It has nothing like 'a hollywood ending" (cuz its a French movie, and is in French...)
May 28, 2007
"And now a short detour." Nothing will make you support resistance to tyranny like this look at the French Resistance.
December 31, 2006
Have to pay close attention at the beginning till the plot gets rolling, but once it gets rolling it doesn't stop till the big crash at the bottom of the hill! Story could have been a bit more clear-cut (and probably is if you speak French), and some of the photography seemed a bit too dark; all in all, a good war tale!
November 16, 2006
This movie is just so amazing. I could watch it everyday. I wish it were out on dvd. anyway the thing I love about this movie is that everytime I went to see it I noticed something new and got something out of it. Easily the best film I have seen all year. Great performences all around but standout ones from Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret.