Le Samourai

It was only a matter of time before we found a Jean-Pierre Melville film I actually like. We do make one big mistake in this weeks episode though. Despite being a film with Samourai literally in the title we did not invite Donovan Hill back to join us for this French gangster classic. I publicly apologize to him and you listeners for that oversight. He'd have hated it, and those are some of the best episodes.

Le Samourai starts with a fake quote about bushido and is philosophically inconsistent with everything we've learned about bushido from the Japanese films Melville certainly watched and doesn't seem to quite grasp. Still brilliant, though.

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Le Cercle Rouge

Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge (1970) opens with a nonsensical and overwrought (and fabricated) quote from the Buddha. It sets a tone for the entire film. Nothing really makes sense, everyone makes decisions against their barely establiched character and motivations are at best unclear.

But it does let us reflect on all the other gangster films we've watched that we loved or hated! Good times!

Bob le flambeur

Jean-Pierre Melville is called Melville because he really liked Moby Dick and apparently the French Resistance just let you pick your own codename because anti-fascism.

His 1956 film Bob le Flambeur is a French gangster film that is often called a precursor to the French New Wave, but Pat and I aren't buying it. It's a mediocre genre film in a genre of which we've seen better examples. Commentary suggests that Melville is masterful in this particular type of film. I look forward to seeing more from him, then, but this doesn't connect.