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LE SILENCE DE LA MER & 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown


Thursday, May 4

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

(1949) Billeted in a village home, “good German” Wehrmacht officer Howard Vernon gets the silent treatment, but still discourses on his deep cultural Francophilia — but there’s a bitter disillusionment in store. Shot on a shoestring at the actual home of original author Vercors. Plus short 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown (1946), the great Beby, with Melville narrating his first film. DCPs courtesy Institut Français. Approx. 105 min.


“An anti-cinematic jewel. Shot on a very tight budget by stellar cinematographer Henri Decaë, and taking place in a single room (in the original author’s house), the film’s austerity sets it apart from not only Melville’s later works but most other films as well… Our senses as viewers are reinvigorated as we realize that we can learn more about a character through the trembling of their hands, and a glance that is refused, than with words. And it’s this bare honesty which not only adds to the film’s emotional depth but allows us to explore what it truly means to be human, making it one of the most subtly powerful and moving films of Melville’s career.”
– Sonya Redi, Screen Slate 

“A tribute to the resolve of those who, far too few in Nazi-occupied Europe, refused to comply with the creeping normalization of brutality in the everyday. Silence, usually associated with acquiescence, in Melville’s film acquires a stoic quality voicing the repudiation of a political disease that cannot be possibly cured, only eliminated.”
– Mubi

– Vogue 

“How stylish can you get? Melville’s first feature film, and already his touch is sure.”
– Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

Film Forum