Saturday 25 August 2007

Blues And Yellows In The Red Circle

Jean-Pierre Melville's colour palette in films like Le Samourai, Army Of Shadows and Le Cercle Rouge is muted and somewhat restrcited. But it works great with his deliberately paced rhythms.

In Le Cercle Rouge there's a constant return to blues and yellows (which actually sometimes are so muted they become greys and beiges) and it makes for some great images:

I think Steven Soderbergh must've been a fan (though the colours he uses in the link are certainly not muted).


Anonymous said...

I loved Le Cercle Rouge, to date my only Melville. The look of it is spectacular, and I love the attention to detail in the sets. The cast really strikes me, on the surface they don't seem to be doing much, but again there is something beyond their cool exterior. I especially loved Gian Maria Volonte. I probably should see it again, I watched a fairly old VHS without subtitles. I understand French, but I prefer to really get the best possible understanding of a film... and English subtitles helps.

Bob Turnbull said...

Hi Justine,

Yeah, it's pretty terrific. If you can, pick up or rent the Criterion disc. It looks beautiful and the translation seems fine (I understand French as well, but some of the more slang sections throw me).

Goes without saying (though I guess I'm saying it anyway) that you need to see Le Samourai. I like it even more. Actually anything by Melville I've caught has been great (Un Flic, Army Of Shadows and Bob Le Flambeur are the others). My favourite scene is in Le Samourai in the police station where a detective is interrogating several people at once in different rooms and moves between them through the labyrinth of doors and hallways - the camera following him the whole time.

Delon is even cooler in Le Samourai than Le Cercle Rouge.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful screen shots! I really love this film.

Bob Turnbull said...

Yeah, I need more Melville...He could well become one of my fave directors. I need to see the recent Criterion release of Les Enfants Terribles.