Army of Shadows / L'Armée des ombres
(Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1969, 35mm, 145 mins.)
Army of Shadows still resonates with the truth and
tragedy of its awful yet sometimes beautiful time.
-- Michael Wilmington, The Chicago Tribune
That rare work of art that thrills the senses and the mind.
-- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Last August, I caught a screening of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 masterpiece Army of Shadows during its first-ever US release. I had a feeling, at the time, that I wouldn't see a better film in 2006. I didn't, and it topped my list for the year. (It also topped the lists of local critics Sheila Benson and Annie Wagner.)
Lino Ventura's Phillipe prefigures Gene Hackman's Harry Caul
Although this is the kind of action-oriented, yet elegantly composed wartime
picture that plays best on the big screen, a digital viewing is better than none
at all, so I was thrilled to hear that a release date has finally been announced.
The Criterion Collection will be issuing a double-disc edition of Army of Shadows
on May 15th. Extras include commentary by author Ginette Vincendeau and interviews with cinematographer Pierre L'Homme and editor Françoise Bonnot.
[Simone Signoret as Mathilde]
For more information, please click here for the Rialto listing (trailer,
reviews, etc.), here for the Criterion Collection listing (technical specs,
etc.), here for the Amazon listing, and here for my original review.