Ginette Vincendeau on Le silence de la mer

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Apr 28, 2015

Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le silence de la mer is undoubtedly one of the most assured film debuts of all time; an adaptation of an underground novel by Jean Bruller, written (under the pseudonym Vercors) during the Nazi occupation of France, the film shows a director already at the height of his visual powers. As film scholar Ginette Vincendeau points out in this excerpt from a new interview on our release, much of the film's power comes from the cinematic devices Melville uses to communicate the darkness of the story, particularly in his portrayal of the central figure of a German officer who has been billeted in the home of a middle-aged Frenchman and his niece.