Jean Pierre Melville in À Bout De Souffle

Written by Joe D on November 14th, 2008


Melvile reading about his feud with Truffaut

Here is a clip of Jean Pierre Melville appearing in Jean Luc Godard’s 1st feature À Bout De Souffle (USA Breathless). Melville was a hero to the young directors of the New Wave. He also had a reputation for being somewhat of a tyrant. I heard an interview with the cameraman from Army Of Shadows, Pierre Lhomme. He said that only during the restoration of the film, 35 years after it was made, did he realize what a great film it was. Before that there were too many bad memories associated with the various sequences and seeing them would bring these on set recollections rushing back. It was only after all those years that he could be objective. Also the star of that film, Lino Ventura, had huge fights with Melville on the set of Le Deuxième souffle(1966) and vowed never to speak to him again. Nevertheless when Melville called him to be in Army Of Shadows Lino came and from what I hear the director and his star never spoke directly to one another through the entire film! “Tell the actor to do it again!”, “Tell Melville I’m ready.” etc. Astonishing when you see the incredible performance Lino gave. But here is Melville playing a famous novelist being interviewed at the airport by a throng of reporters. And because it is is a French film, he mainly talks about chicks.