The MFA celebrates the centenary of Jean-Pierre Melville

“Bob le Flambeur” is among the films in The MFA’s Jean-Pierre Melville Centennial. Jean-Pierre Grumbach loved Herman Melville so much that he used his name as a nom de guerre during World War II and after the war actually changed his name to Jean-Pierre Melville. That’s how he’s credited on the 13 features he directed between 1949 and 1972, a year before his death. Starting Friday, the Museum of Fine Arts will screen six of them as part of a centenary tribute . Melville was born 100 years ago last month. Films in the series appear below in boldface. Besides having the most Franco-American name in film history, Melville also had the most Franco-American sensibility. The American part is easy to see (and savor) in the eight crime films he made. Tough, taciturn men wear trench coats and fedoras, smoke constantly, listen to jazz, drive big cars, and have even bigger plans. Few if any of those plans are legal. These movies are fever-dream versions of the American gangster film, with Jean-Paul Belmondo or Alain Delon, packing Gauloises along with a gat, substituting for Bogart or Cagney. The archetypal Melville title is “Le Doulos” (1963): “doulos” means both stool […]

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