Recently (five months ago) I saw the movie Le Samourai by Director Jean-Pierre Melville recommended to me by a respected miami artist and seconded the same night by dig. So I eagerly put it on top of my netflix list. I saw it and made notes while I watch it in the hopes of making some comments about it here. Time passed and today I decided to do it with the music background of Cansei de Ser Sexy.
I have to say that these are the type of movies I need to see. It confirms the idea in my head that there is art cinema out there to be explored. Since, I have seen many other Melville movies, but none is as good as Le Samourai. The first thing I noticed about the first shot that lasted like an eternity, it was a movie painting without the moving. Little by little I notice someone on the right side of the frame. It was Alain Delon, other than being one of my mother’s idols, I always noticed that many talked about him as if he was a joke because he starts every sentence about himself with “Alain Delon thinks …” all in the third person sentences, and always about himself. At least that was the way he was portrayed by Les Guignols and it always made me laugh about Delon. Yet this movie changed all that. This movie is a Masterpiece.
I think Melville was influenced by Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard and I can imagine movies by Jim Jarmusch’s Ghost Dog and John Frankenheimer’s Ronin are influenced by this one. This movie definitely did not have any blah-blah. There was not dialog during the first 10 minutes. There was a very Japanese / American thing to this movie. Every car and the clothes were very Americana while the personality of the protagonist was very japanese Bushido style. He spoke with few words, filled with passion and straight to the point. He was detached from everything and everybody. A scene where he is stealing a car is so powerful it needed to be seeing many times. He seems lost, without hope, or future, suicidal… it ends with a suicide by cop scene. Every frame seems pure. There is an elegance of iconography that lets you know everything without words. A bit like a medieval church in film. It is 1966 but it feels like it happened at any time. The solitude feeling of this movie is universal and timeless. At one point during the movie I wrote in in my notes “he is me, I am him” I do not feel that now but apparently while I was watching I did. The formal beauty of this movie makes it a kind of cinema that I would like to shoot myself. It was in my opinion a controlled form of minimalism that we don’t see today in cinema, a very silent movie that focused on masculinity and the beauty of being a true gentleman. What can I say, I admire being gentile and true, as it is hard to do that these days where everybody is right and there is not need to have guilt or personal regret for anything we do.