Army in the Shadows

(L'armée des ombres)

Showing Mon 25 Sep to Wed 27 Sep

Army in the Shadows
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Country of origin and year
France 1969
Format
Digital
Duration
145 minutes
Certificate
Rated 12A
Cast
Cast: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret.

French with English subtitles

Booking Information

Book online or call the booking line: 0131 228 2688.
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Screenings from Mon 25 Sep

Day Screening times
Mon 25 Sep 14:45 Filmhouse screen 2 20:15 Filmhouse screen 2      
Tue 26 Sep 17:45 Filmhouse screen 2        
Wed 27 Sep 14:00 Filmhouse screen 2        
Thu 28 Sep  
Fri 29 Sep  
Sat 30 Sep  
Sun 01 Oct  
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Book cinema tickets for Army in the Shadows

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Made, between Le Samouraï and Le Cercle rouge, at the peak of Melville's powers (though he'd been planning a film of Joseph Kessel's book for 25 years), Army In the Shadows is one of the great director's very finest achievements.

It helps, of course, that he had fought for the French Resistance himself, and was able to draw on personal memories of people, places, events and, most importantly, the strategies and methods of the Underground; for, as he chronicles a four-month period in the lives of a group of freedom-fighters led by Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura), depicting their furtive battles against the occupying Nazis (first shown, famously, marching on the Champs-Elysées), collaborators and, most dangerously, traitors in their own camp, the film is imbued not only with the authenticity of history but with the truth of first-hand remembrance. This, in turn, means that the movie in many ways feels very like Melville's crime thrillers, both in his masterly ability to create suspense - note the remarkable build-up to Gerbier's attempted break-out from Gestapo HQ - and in his cool, clear-eyed focus on questions of honour and courage, loyalty and betrayal.

The world depicted is one where trust, in such short supply, is all-important; it's impossible to know not only how far others may be depended on, but even how you yourself might act under torture and threat of death. Melville's response to such dilemmas is typically unsentimental and intelligent; there's even wit among the tragedy. And he's helped by an excellent cast that includes Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse and Jean-Pierre Cassel, all lending superb support to Ventura's marvellously understated tour de force. A film, in short, of extraordinary restraint and power.

The screening at 5.45pm on Tue 26 Sep will be introduced by Dr Pasquale Iannone (University of Edinburgh).

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Jean-Pierre Melville

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