Jean-Pierre Melville

"I move from realism to fantasy without the spectator ever noticing."

Jean-Pierre Melville

The Stetson-wearing godfather of the French crime film, Jean-Pierre Melville has a very particular reputation as a tough-guy purveyor of genre cinema. His macho gangster films of the 1960s and 70s often met with huge commercial success, but detractors were never far behind. Some said he was all style and no substance, a copycat artist stealing from an American genre. But while it’s true that he adored classic Hollywood crime movies, his work went far beyond mere imitation. Melville’s exacting frames, cool-toned hues and alienated male protagonists built a murky philosophical world around the gestures of criminality.

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