Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Army Of Shadows (1969)

Sunday November 9th 2014, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema by Jeffrey Babcock: Army Of Shadows (L’Armée des Ombres). Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969, 145 minutes, in French with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

Who could believe that in 2006 when American critics were voting for the best film of the year, they would choose a 37-year-old French thriller about the Resistance during World War II? How could that even be possible? Its possible because this film hadn’t ever been shown in America, despite the fact that it was considered a masterpiece for decades here in Europe.

Directed by the mesmerizing Jean-Pierre Melville, whose participation in the Resistance qualifies Army of Shadows as an authentic and haunting account of the events during the war. Melville doesn’t treat the subject lightly… in this film death hangs over every scene like a terrible shroud. Army of Shadows makes Spielberg’s movie about WW II look like a Disney film (which it is). I don’t mean in the sense of violence (because this film has very little)…I just mean in terms of sincerity, it’s dark mood and authenticity. Spielberg is pure fantasy and is more interested in spectacle than honesty. If you want to know what it was like to live under Nazi occupation, then don’t turn to America, but to this French classic which depicts the situation better than any other film that I know of.

Army of the Shadows follows the the harrowing actions of the French resistance movement and the enormous risks they took. Its exquisitely shot (all in muted blues and greys), and the acting is riveting by everyone involved, especially by the leads- Lino Ventura and Simone Signoret. Tense and pensive, this is a film that everyone should be seeing these days… especially since so few people today seem to understand the meaning of solidarity and fighting for one’s beliefs.

A real gem, and it will be a high-definition screening.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net