Your description of this haunting film is detailed and informative. I've watched it carefully and studied its background a bit, read the story in French. It's equally mesmerizing and powerful in both forms. The story has a slow, cumulative power that's well captured in the film. Had forgotten the outdoor scenes of the film. The man and his niece's silence of course radiates hatred. You never know if they are at all won over by the German's well-meaning but naive good will; you tend to think not. Their silence, like the story, represents French resistence to German occupation. But the German is given a chance. The approach is subtle. When the German is shocked out of his delusions, it's shattering for us also. Appearing in 1941 clandestinely, Le Silence de la Mer was a daring and unusual story that took serious risks appearing even if only to a few select readers right during the early stages of the German occupation of France. For some time, I don't think the story was well-received--that it was too gentle in dealing with the Germans; I think Vercors may even have beenin some danger from both sides, but his identity was well-conceiled. How it was received and how it is meant to be literature of resistence somewhat baffles me still. But of course the Germans would not know about the German character's final realizations. I think some French readers, though now they may regard this as a beautiful work, thought it too soft on the Germans. But its moral comlexity is what gives it value to us.

You must be aware that the German speaks beautiful, correct French, but in the film, with a slight accent.

The author's name is Jean Bruller, pen name Vercors. He was a graphic artist, instrrumental in establishing an underground publishing house that eventually became Editions de Minuit, which later was the first to publish Samuel Becket and also Alain Robbe-Grillet, Claude Simon, Marguerite Duras and Robert Pinget.

It never occurred to me that this had any similarity to Bresson. It is an accomplished, if understated, work, but quite different from Melville's later noir classics, which include of course Bob le Flambeur, Le Samouraï, the recently revived Army of Shadows, Le Cercle Rougs, Un Flic....

I wonder why Cocteau got Melville to direct Les Enfants Terribles instead of directing it himself. I guess it wasn't material that was surrealistic enough for him to bother with.

Léon Morin, prêtre, starring Belmondo and Emanuelle Riva is another Meliville film that takes place in the occupation. I don't even remember it. Melville gave Alain Delon some of his best and most appropriate roles.