Le silence de la mer

Le silence de la mer

DVD - 2015 | French
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An idealistic, naive German officer is assigned to the home of a middle-aged man and his grown niece; their response to his presence, their only form of resistance is complete silence.
Publisher: [New York, NY] : The Criterion Collection, [2015]
ISBN: 9781604659870
Branch Call Number: DVD FRE/ENG SILENCE
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (87 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in
video file,DVD video


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Sep 19, 2020

My expectation was not high when I picked up this 1947, B/W film. However, I found it to be one of the best human dramas I have ever watched. Apparently this was the first feature film by French director J-P Melville and I personally think it was a major accomplishment for him.

Dec 26, 2019

Very good movie version of the book. Deep and moving after all these years.

Oct 30, 2019

After reading a very fine retrospective essay on Jean-Pierre Melville in a recent London Review of Books, I came looking for his film treatment of “Le silence de la mer” — which I read with great enjoyment and admiration in 1963 — astonishing to look back and realize how close that was to “contemporary fiction” then! I did not know it had been filmed. Such delight to find the DVDs available through Edmonton Public Library...a wonderful story. Apparently when filming was done, Mme Bruller complained that the original real-life billeted German officer had created less disorder than the film-crew. “But Madame,” said Melville, “HE was not making a film!”

Oct 17, 2019

I do not think that the older man or his niece were ignoring the German officer. They were actually listening to every word that he spoke and I think that they partly believed that it might be true. Possibly Germany and France might have worked together. That was the opinion of many in France at the time. We have sort of rewritten French history as if everyone or almost everyone was in the resistance. The reality was much more complex. There were many who were sympathizers with the Germans. There were some who were fearful of Bolshevism (with reason considering what was to happen in Eastern Europe in a few short years) and therefore were willing to make a deal with whom they considered a lesser devil. Was this so different from the Allies who went in with Stalin, one of the worst dictators in all history, in order to defeat Hitler and Nazi Germany?

I also think that the old man and the niece felt a certain sympathy toward the officer. The niece was very much drawn towards his apparent loneliness. In another world they might have drawn closer to each other as both were very lonely, but the circumstances dictated otherwise.

I would say that this film has many levels of understanding and like all commendable films, have many layers of meaning to explore. Thanks, Ottawa Library....Stephan

Mar 11, 2019

A very understated tale of WWII resistance and it's cultural overtones. Unlike some people, I prefer Melville's war movies more than his critically acclaimed (but still fine) gangster epics.
Another fine restoration of the 1948 film by Criterion.

Feb 10, 2016

Quite frankly I found this to be disappointing- now I realize why Melville stuck to genre films- because he couldn't make an art film to save his life!

Dec 22, 2015

This is a war-time drama based on the novel by Jean Marcel Bruller, originally released as a motion picture in 1949.
The novel was published under the pseudonym "Vercors" secretly in Nazi-occupied Paris and stood for a symbol of mental resistance against German occupiers.
The old man and his niece show resistance against the German officer by remaining silent.
The German officer is a former composer, dreaming of brotherhood between the French and German nations, deluded by the Nazi propaganda of that period.
He is disillusioned, however, when he realizes the real goal of the German army is not to build but to ruin and to exploit.
He then chooses to leave France to fight on the Eastern Front, cryptically declaring he is off to Hell.
Although it is more like a play than a movie, the film is quite gripping and emotionally powerful.

Aug 11, 2015

This 1949 film was Jean-Pierre Melville’s first full length feature and is based upon a 1942 underground novel of the German occupation of France. A Frenchman and his niece were forced to house a German officer during the occupation, but they refuse to look him in the eye or ever say a word to him during months and months of occupation. Nightly, the officer prattles on about how he loves the French and when France and Germany are united after the war, everything will be so great. The landlord and niece show not one whit of interest or belief that they even hear anything from his mouth. The acting and camera shots are just fantastic to pull this off.


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