Tribute to Jean-Pierre Melville

March 22, 2012, 9:14 AM

As part of its 47th edition, the Karlovy Vary IFF will focus on one of the most outstanding contemporary Turkish directors, Reha Erdem, as well as on a key figure of postwar French cinema, Jean-Pierre Melville. The festival will also honor the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Michelangelo Antonioni with a complete presentation of his documentary work.

Although he himself vehemently rejected the appellation, many consider Jean-Pierre Melville (né J.-P. Grumbach, 1917-1973) the “godfather of the French new wave” thanks primarily to Bob le flambeur, his cult tale of an aging gambler from Montmartre. Yet as the first and still greatest cineaste among film directors, he always consciously avoided to belong to any movement of French postwar film. Well-regarded gangster movies from the 1960s (Le doulos, Le deuxième souffle, Le Samouraï, Le cercle rouge), literary adaptations (Le Silence de la mer, Les enfants terribles), and dramas set during the Second World War (Léon Morin, Priest; Army of Shadows) thematically and stylistically revealed Melville’s obsession with classic Hollywood movies and his defining life experiences as a member of the French army and, subsequently, of the resistance. Filmmakers the likes of Quentin Tarantino, John Woo, Michael Mann, and Martin Scorsese consider the charismatic loner, who revisited the rules of the crime genre, to have been a key influence on their work. Foremost film columnist and critic Rui Nogueira, author of the acclaimed collection of interviews Le cinéma selon Melville, will be on hand at the 47th KVIFF to introduce nine of the director’s pictures in the Melville tribute.

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