January 15, 2008

Bob le Flambeur (Melville, 1956)

A quiet fatalism runs throughout Bob le Flambeur, slowly revealing itself in the rain slicked streets, the nightly routine of boozing and gambling, the overcast dawns, and especially Bob Montagné's face, his furrowed brow, muscles constantly contracted, always staring down. The rain, try as it might, can't seem to wash away the sins of the many who roam Paris by night, and fate, no matter how much one might try, cannot be altered. And so Bob goes about, losing his money, over and over again.

An undeniable stylistic precursor to the Nouvelle Vague, Melville's film is the type that will always seem modern and fresh, no matter how many decades pass. There is a languid vitality to the film that is impossible to do justice to through words alone. This is a film that must be seen.

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