Le Samouraï

Le Samouraï ★★★★½

I miss how international the cinema was in the 60's and 70's. It's somewhat coming back with studios making an effort to appeal to foreign markets by inserting one or two international actors into some Tom Cruise super-production...as minor stooges. But back in the day you would have French actors turn up in Italian films, Italian actors turn up in French films and directors of any nationality were more than happy to go wherever the money was.

I know that the Italians and their love of dubbing played a huge part in this, but I also feel like there might have been a greater focus on visual storytelling back then. Filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Bernardo Bertolucci and Jean-Pierre Melville made films that could easily be watched silently. The story is being told with camera movement, editing, color palette and costuming. In this approach, the actors are more akin to a blank canvas on which both filmmaker and audience can project whatever they need to. Alain Delon is the king of this blank canvas style of acting. And I mean that as a compliment.