Melville's extraordinary first feature, an adaptation of Vercors' classic novella about the French Resistance, is in effect a triangular drama in which two people don't speak. A German officer (Vernon), convalescing from a wound, is billeted on an elderly Frenchman (Robain) and his niece (Stéphane). Respecting their obstinate refusal to address the hated invader, he meets their silence with a series of monologues, apparently ignored, in which he recalls his life before the war and all the things he values; but what he reveals about himself causes the girl to fall in love, without being able to declare her feelings. Filmed in the most daring way imaginable, using a new cinematic language of transient expressions and glances, the film was a root influence on Bresson and the whole French New Wave. CPea.