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How a French film ‘Le Samourai’ has been an inspiration to many films

A still from Le Samourai

Jean-Pierre Melville’s ‘Le Samourai’ has been an inspiration to many filmmakers and characters. This 1967 French film conveys the story more in a visual form and what I appreciate most about it is the minimalism of the dialogue. Almost like a silent film, cut the sound and you can still follow the storyline through stills. As you can see in the three frames above, the first two are from ‘Le Samourai’ and the last one from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver whose protagonist Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) has a lot of similarities with that of Jef Costello (Alain Delon).

Opening shots of Le Samourai

Talking about the first two frames, the opening shots of Le Samourai, these shots are remarkable as they itself act as a characterization to our protagonist as we see him alone smoking in a dim-lit room and the only living being apart from him is the caged bird which is also a visual representation of Jeff’s character. The film’s first few scenes silently inform us a lot about our protagonist, his life has no purpose and there’s nothing in this world that can make him happy. Played by Alain Delon, the character works as a hitman as that’s the only thing he can do for his survival.

The film has been an inspiration to many films and characters ahead. Talking about one such is Travis Bickle’s character from Taxi Driver. The only thing that differentiates both these characters is their perception towards the outside world. Well, in short, the film Le Samourai is that work of art that has been inspiring many artists over the years and continues to do so.

Do watch Le Samourai if you haven’t yet and stay tuned to The Indian Wire for more such articles.

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