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The Silence of the Sea (1949)

The Silence of the Sea
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TitleThe Silence of the Sea
Original TitleLe silence de la mer
Year1949
CountryFrance
GenreWar (Movies)
Run Time1h 27 min
Director

The film has been described as an “anti-cinematographic” film due to the unique method of narration used to give voice to the (mostly) silent Frenchman and his niece. It was made shortly after Melville was demobbed from the French Resistance and is one of several films made by Melville on the Resistance, along with Léon Morin, prêtre and L’armée des ombres.

The film is coloured by Melville’s own experience of the sacrifices and the painful moral intransigence that resistance demands. An unnamed Frenchman and his niece are obliged to provide lodgings for a German officer and register their resistance by refusing to speak to him. Maintaining their silence becomes harder as the officer, von Ebrennac, talks to them, and reveals a decency and his own doubts about the war. “He’s clearly related to von Stroheim’s sympathetic commandant in Renoir’s La Grande Illusion, a figure whose loyalty is to something greater than nationalism. His unwilling hosts-[and] the echo chamber [of] their mute opposition makes him question both himself and his mission.”

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Date of download: 2015-11-11T17:22:34+00:00

The Silence of the Sea
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Cast:

Howard Vernon Howard Vernon
Werner von Ebrennac
«A goose flying over the sea becomes talkative like a duck»

The film has been described as an “anti-cinematographic” film due to the unique method of narration used to give voice to the (mostly) silent Frenchman and his niece. It was made shortly after Melville was demobbed from the French Resistance and is one of several films made by Melville on the Resistance, along with Léon Morin, prêtre and L’armée des ombres.

The film is coloured by Melville’s own experience of the sacrifices and the painful moral intransigence that resistance demands. An unnamed Frenchman and his niece are obliged to provide lodgings for a German officer and register their resistance by refusing to speak to him. Maintaining their silence becomes harder as the officer, von Ebrennac, talks to them, and reveals a decency and his own doubts about the war. “He’s clearly related to von Stroheim’s sympathetic commandant in Renoir’s La Grande Illusion, a figure whose loyalty is to something greater than nationalism. His unwilling hosts-[and] the echo chamber [of] their mute opposition makes him question both himself and his mission.”

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