André S. LabartheFrance104 minutes1971ColourFrench
An invaluable — nay, imperative! — portrait of Jean-Pierre Melville by a giant of French film criticism. Shot during the preparation for Un flic and just before Melville died of a heart attack at the age of 55, the film traverses the director's entire career, including several excerpts from his films and those he loved. The impressionistic portrait is composed in nine "poses": "The Businessman," where Melville recounts the creation of his own studio, Jenner; "The Worker"; "The Solitary," in which the director discusses his love of the night; "The Dreamer"; "L'auteur de film," in which he addresses his relationship with Jean Cocteau on Les Enfants terrible; "Le passéiste," where he confesses to nostalgia; "The Perfectionist," in which he mulls over the failure of Two Men in Manhattan; "Le franglais," where he explores his love of American cinema; and "The Encircled," on the nature of his closed universe.