Jean-Pierre Melville
Guy Lochhead, 11/09/10
French director often cited as the godfather of the Nouvelle Vague. Returning to France after obligatory service in World War II, he applied to the French Technicians’ Union, but was denied membership. Undaunted by what he regarded as party politics, he set up his own production company and started releasing films outside the system. He fetishised American culture – taking his name from Herman Melville, he drove a cadillac, wore a stetson and aviators, and drank Coca Cola. His films place great importance on guns, suits and hats. There is much to admire in the unorthodox production side of Melville’s films – shooting on location without permits, using a tiny crew, making films quickly etc. Unfortunately, their content is derivative, macho and misogynistic. He won’t be included. This same criticism can be applied to much of the Nouvelle Vague he inspired (and then rejected).

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