Louis Malle

"Malle's unsentimental sympathies for his characters and his feel for the apparently banal but quietly meaningful details of everyday life have established him as an imaginative, if erratic, talent." - Geoff Andrew (Film Handbook, 1989)

Louis Malle

Director / Screenwriter / Producer
(1932-1995) Born October 30, Thumeries, Nord, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, USA, Italy
Key Genres: Drama, Period Film, Romantic Drama, Comedy, Psychological Drama, Coming-of-Age, Crime, Comedy Drama, Crime Comedy, Crime Drama, Ensemble Film, War Drama
Key Collaborators: Suzanne Baron (Editor), Henri Decae (Cinematographer), Bernard Evein (Production Designer), Jeanne Moreau (Leading Actress), Jean-Claude Carrière (Screenwriter), Vincent Malle (Producer), Claude Nedjar (Producer), Kenout Peltier (Editor), Wallace Shawn (Leading Character Actor), Hubert Deschamps (Character Actor), Brigitte Bardot (Leading Actress), Maurice Ronet (Leading Actor)

"Of the French New Wave directors who achieved lasting success, Louis Malle and Eric Rohmer perhaps stand furthest apart. Rohmer discovered early what he could do and has carried on doing it. Malle, however, seemed determined never to repeat himself and explored different genres, styles, and countries. It was a risky strategy and Malle had his fair share of fiascos... Some of Malle's most accomplished and deeply felt films concern adolescence: the semiautobiographical Murmur of the Heart (1971); Lacombe, Lucien (1974), in which a loutish peasant lad joins the fascists in occupied France; and the moving Au revoir, les enfants (1987)." - Philip Kemp (501 Movie Directors, 2007)
"A critic remarked of one of Malle's last films that it was lovely to look at, but lacked narrative drive. That was not always true of the rich variety of work turned out by this French director, but it became increasingly so since the early 1970s... Malle made a gloriously wide variety of films, underlining his own attempts to escape categorization and his denial of the 'auteur' theory." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"As the cresting New Wave battered at the restrictions of conventional narrative technique, Malle created a personal style, sexual and emotional which was to sustain him while flashier colleagues failed. Of the new wave survivors, he is the most old-fashioned, the most erotic, and arguably, the most widely successful... If Truffaut turned into the René Clair of the new French cinema, Malle may yet become its Max Ophüls." - John Baxter (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"Although he began to work at the same time as the New Wave directors, he was a speculative, conventional talent: sophisticated and polished, but moving rather aimlessly from one subject to another, only rarely discovering more than entertainment in his films. Too often, his choice of material was overambitious or fashionable, and his working out of human situations melodramatic. At worst, he had a taste for glossy, commercial packages that masquerade as artiness, and it seemed reasonable to regard him as the successor to such proficient but shallow directors as Autant-Lara and Duvivier." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"A workmanlike director who is always competent and sometimes brilliant. His Lacombe, Lucien (73) is a humanistic masterpiece of the 1970s, another Open City." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"Filmmakers don't work for posterity. We create with celluloid and chemical pigments that don't last very long. They fade away. In 200 years there will be nothing left of our work but dust." - Louis Malle
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Elevator to the Gallows (1957), Atlantic City (1980), Au revoir les enfants (1987)
Recommended
The Thief of Paris (1967), Murmur of the Heart (1971), Lacombe, Lucien (1974) , My Dinner with Andre (1981), Alamo Bay (1985)
Worth a Look
The Lovers (1958), Zazie dans le Metro (1960), Le Feu follet (1963), Spirits of the Dead (1968) [also directed by Federico Fellini & Roger Vadim], Black Moon (1975), God's Country [TV] (1985), Vanya on 42nd Street (1994)
Approach with Caution
A Very Private Affair (1962), Viva Maria! (1965), May Fools (1989), Damage (1992)
Not Recommended
Pretty Baby (1978)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films
Amazon Products
Films / Books
    Le Feu Follet
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