Army of Shadows

Best Foreign Film
New York Film Critics Circle
For lovers of cinema, Melville is a master.


Army of Shadows

Jean Pierre Melville’s ARMY OF SHADOWS (L’armée des ombres, 1969) will open in a new DCP restoration at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills, for a one-week engagement beginning November 20.

In a typically laconic and understated performance, Lino Ventura (
Elevator to the Gallows, Classe Tous Risques) stars as an ordinary man in the center of extraordinary events, as he and his compatriots (including maîtresse of disguise Simone Signoret) go underground in face of the German Occupation – but the traitors in their own midst can be equally treacherous.

Precursor to the New Wave and legend of the French gangster film, Jean-Pierre Melville (
Bob Le Flambeur, Le Cercle Rouge, Le Samourai) realized the dream of a quarter century when he adapted “the book of the Resistance,” written by Joseph Kessel (Belle de Jour) in the white heat of immediacy. Melville turned the detached, unblinking gaze of his film noir classics on these memories of his youth – he himself served for years underground – adding a jarring finale of his own, so stoically uncompromising as to reduce Kessel himself to sobs on his first viewing.

Remarkably, this capstone to the career of one of France’s most revered directors did not premiere in the United States until Rialto Pictures released it in 2006, when it became an arthouse hit and winner of the prestigious New York Film Critics Award for Best Foreign Film that year; an unprecedented feat for a 37 years old film!

"A rare work of art that thrills the senses and the mind…worthy of that overused superlative MASTERPIECE." – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Not Rated
Drama, War
Jean-Pierre Melville
Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret
Winner, Best Foreign Film, New York Film Critics Circle

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