Welcome to Project 77, a series in which we will examine some of our favorite films by breaking them down and analyzing what we see every 77 seconds on screen.
First up, Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1967 French Noir Masterpiece, Le Samourai.
Le Samourai: 00:14:07
First time I watched this film a smile ripped across my face when they hit the nightclub scene. You get so conditioned by the minimalism on display up to this point in the story, when they pivot and put you in this place, it socks you in the face. It might not be as weird, but I would rank this place as being on the level of the Korova Milk Bar in Clockwork Orange on the cool scale for places to get a drink.
Why do all the things I love end up going out of style? Gaudy wallpaper. Silly coats. Space-age furniture. How did we let everything get so boring?
This frame is a visual feast, but while you’re soaking in the stunning display of lines and metals and plastics and mirrors and glass and bubble shades, I would like you to take note of what the people are wearing.
One of the things Melville was after was a timeless feel for the film. I understand an amazing room like this looks dated by modern standards, but how was Jean-Pierre to know we would run out of good taste?
If you take note of the costumes in this film you’ll see that everyone dresses in a very classic manner. There’s none of the trappings of 1967 hip culture. It was a bold choice at the time, but one that made his film stand out in a year when we saw films like In Like Flint basking in the culture.
This is our first glimpse of the piano player, Caty Rosier, off in the distance. We’ll get into her more in upcoming installments, but for now let’s just take a moment to imagine ourselves sitting at one of those tables, sipping on a brandy, listening to some sweet tunes.