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The most personal film by the underworld poet Jean-Pierre Melville, who had participated in the French Resistance himself, this tragic masterpiece, based on a novel by Joseph Kessel, recounts the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought in the Resistance. Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret star as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honor in their battle against Hitler’s regime. Long underappreciated in France and unseen in the United States, the atmospheric and gripping thriller Army of Shadows is now widely recognized as the summit of Melville’s career, channeling the exquisite minimalism of his gangster films to create an unsparing tale of defiance in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
• High-definition digital restoration, supervised by director of photography Pierre Lhomme, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Alternate 2.0 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio
• Audio commentary from 2006 featuring film scholar Ginette Vincendeau
• Interviews from 2007 with Lhomme and editor Françoise Bonnot
• On-set footage and excerpts from archival interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville, cast members, author Joseph Kessel, and real-life Resistance fighters
• Jean-Pierre Melville et “L’armée des ombres” (2005), a short program on the director and his film
• Le journal de la Résistance (1944), a rare short documentary shot on the front lines during the final days of the German occupation of France
• Restoration demonstration by Lhomme
• PLUS: An essay by critic Amy Taubin, along with a piece by historian Robert O. Paxton and excerpts from Rui Nogueira’s Melville on Melville