Army of Shadows

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Army of Shadows ★★★½ L'Armee des Ombres; Army in the Shadows; The Shadow Army 1969

Melville's stunning adaptation of the 1943 Joseph Kessel novel focuses on members of the French Resistance in 1942. They lead shadow lives under false identities, struggling to survive while living in fear of betrayal. The head of this cell is Luc Jardie (Meurisse) but the most necessary of its members is field commander Philippe Gerbier (Ventura,) who metes out punishment for such betrayals. It's grim and dangerous and morally ambivalent and no one has time to be heroic (though they are) because there's too much at stake. You can't look away even if you want to. Melville himself was a member of the Resistance. French with subtitles. 140m/C DVD . FR IT Lino Ventura, Si-mone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet, Christian Barbier, Alain Libolt, Jean-Marie Robain; D: Jean-Pierre Melville; W: Jean-Pierre Melville; C: Pierre Lhomme; M: Eric Demarsen.