Melville's solitary, taciturn men kill a lot of time in hideouts such as the spare sepia-brown room where Le Samourai opens. Light entering the darkened chamber through two symmetrical windows fans across the ceilings like beams from projectors. The eye is drawn first to a domed silver-wired birdcage, a delicate miniature prison. It takes longer to notice the man in a dark suit, stretched out on a daybed, the smoke curling up from his cigarette the only sign of life in this exquisite tableau.
Sara Imogen Smith
One Hundred Years of Jean Pierre Melville - No Greater Solitude