War films: ‘Army of Shadows’

March 26,2019

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Islamabad :

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA), Embassy of France and French Center bring war film ‘Army of Shadows’ (L’armee des Ombrees) from 1969 in PNCA on March 27 at 6 p.m.

Director Jean-Pierre Melville is one of the most distinguished film directors in Europe. He was part of what happened in France during World War II. Based on a novel about experiences of French Resistance fighters during WW II, ‘Army of Shadows’ takes us from place to place to work, kill and get killed. It is a dark view of those years. Looking back, some critics have called it an exercise in PR and publicity, which is not true. What is true is that the film is not just about raids, explosions and dead bodies. For a change, from most of the ordinary war films, ‘Army of Shadows’ brings desperate characters who are sure of the fact that they would not live.

The director, who was part of the resistance group, shows things as they were and what really happened. All what you see on screen is true, real and compelling. From scriptwriting to editing, the film works emotionally and conveys many paradoxes of war and its tragedy. It becomes an experience for those who want to see real face of French resistance and its moral impact.

There were around 600 resistance fighters who were ready to lay down their life. They were folks from ordinary life-salesmen, farmers and grocers. All of them ready for eventuality and most of them died. At one point, one of them is advised to take a back seat (lie low) but he refuses saying train a new one for that assignment.

‘Army of Shadows’, written and filmed without compromises, took 25 years from concept to completion. The director took great pride in the first shot of the film. Sound of marching feet off-screen. German soldiers in uniform entering the Arch and walking towards the camera. Actors in German uniforms were banned from Arch. The film runs for 2 hours 25 minutes.

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