The Melvillian Universe

“A movie maker must be a witness of his time. In fifty years, when my films are watched over a three-day period, the viewers ought to say that the first of these films and the last one unquestionably have something in common, either when it comes to language or in respect to what they aim to say; that through made-up stories, one always finds the same author, the same guy, with always the same colors on his palette. It is absolutely essential that the last film resemble the very first one.

The ideal creator is the one who forged an exemplary work.
Not exemplary in the sense of virtue or quality only, and not in the sense that someone is exceptional because everything he does is admirable, but exemplary in the sense that whatever he has designed can be condensed in ten lines of twenty-five words each, twenty-five words sufficient to explain what he did and who he was”.

Jean-Pierre Melville

“A movie maker must be a witness of his time. In fifty years, when my films are watched over a three-day period, the viewers ought to say that the first of these films and the last one unquestionably have something in common, either when it comes to language or in respect to what they aim to say; that through made-up stories, one always finds the same author, the same guy, with always the same colors on his palette. It is absolutely essential that the last film resemble the very first one.
The ideal creator is the one who forged an exemplary work.
Not exemplary in the sense of virtue or quality only, and not in the sense that someone is exceptional because everything he does is admirable, but exemplary in the sense that whatever he has designed can be condensed in ten lines of twenty-five words each, twenty-five words sufficient to explain what he did and who he was”.

Jean-Pierre Melville

D.G BROCK

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MELVILLE´S FILMS

Vingt-quatre heures de la vie d’un clown 1946

Bob, le flambeur
1955

L’aîné des Ferchaux
1963

Le silence de la mer
1949

Deux hommes dans Manhattan
1959

Le deuxième souffle
1966

Le cercle rouge
1970

Les enfants terribles
1950

Léon Morin, prêtre
1961

Le samouraï
1967

Un flic
1972

Quand tu liras cette lettre
1953

Le doulos
1962

L’armée des ombres
1969

MELVILLE´S INFLUENCE

Jean-Pierre Melville strongly influenced entire generations of internationally renown filmmakers such as Michael Mann, Martin Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino, Kelly Reichardt, or SpikeLee in the USA; Bertrand Tavernier, Olivier Marchal, and Olivier Assayas in France; Takeshi Kitano and Masahiro Kobayashi in Japan; John Woo and Johnny To in China; Kim Jee-Wun and Na Hong-Jin in South Korea; Nicolas Winding-Refn in Denmark; Christian Petzold in Germany; Hani-Abu Assad in Palestine; and Pen-Ek Ratanaruang in Thailand, to name a few.

This is what they have to say about him:

Martin Scorsese
“The French master Jean-Pierre Melville, a close student of American moviemaking, made a series of genuinely great, extremely elegant, intricate, and lovingly crafted gangster pictures, in which criminals and cops stick to a code of honor like knights in the age of chivalry. Le Doulos is one of the best, and it might be my personal favorite.”
Quentin Tarantino
“There is a kind of aesthetic working in Melville’s cinema you get the sense that you don’t have to know how to make a movie, but if you truly love cinema with all your heart, and with enough passion, then you can’t help but to make a good movie.”
Spike Lee
“For me there are three good reasons to love French cinema: Godard, Truffaut, and Jean-Pierre Melville”
Kelly Reichardt
“The first time I watched The Army of Shadows (…) I simply forgot to follow the plot, I was so fascinated with the directing, the movement of the characters within the frame, the way it all relates to space (…) Melville’s movies are a wonderful lesson in filmmaking.”
John Woo
 “When Le Samouraï was released, however, it was such a huge hit among the young that their whole lifestyle began to change. The film had an impact on fashion, too. Take myself, for instance: I was almost a hippie, wearing long hair…Right after I saw Le Samouraï, I decided to cut my hair like Delon and started wearing white shirts and black ties.”
Olivier Marchal
“Melville used to say: the world I depict isn’t the world as it is. It is as I want it to be. So, the Cadillacs, Pontiacs, Al Capone like Fedoras, well, that is Melville. He created an extraordinary genre.”
Olivier Assayas
 “Melville was heavily inspired by the American film noir, but, 50 years since, it is he, the French filmmaker infused in American culture, that has become Hollywood’s reference for the entire genre.”
Bertrand Tavernier
Volker Schlöndorff