Melville began making 16mm films as a teenager and formed his own production company shortly after World War II. His first feature film, Le Silence de la Mer (1949), created a stir through its claustrophobic look, location-shot scenes and use of untrained actors.
In the years that followed, Melville would become a major influence on the French new wave through minimalist crime dramas such as Bob le Flambeur and Le Samourai that featured charismatic male leads, including Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
As spiritual guardian of his tiny French town during the Nazi occupation, priest Leon Morin is convinced that anyone can be saved. So, when communist militant Barny barges into his church and tears his religion apart, he reacts with compassion.