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French (English subtitles)
Beginning memorably with a shot of Nazi soldiers marching down the Champs-Élysées, Jean-Pierre Melville's epic film takes us to the occupied Paris of World War Two. Revolving around the experiences of Philippe, leader of a resistance cell (partly based on Melville's own combat experience), the film's depiction of the struggle against the Nazis has little of the noble glamour of many other war films. Conducted by undercover civilians, the resistance is a secret, austere, morally draining affair, marked by betrayal and brutality at every turn. Philippe's execution of a comrade-turned-informer is among cinema's most gruelling scenes.
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