Let's celebrate the minimalist style of French noir (or neo-noir if you wanna split hairs) masterpiece Le Samourai, in honor of our event with Row House Cinema starting Thursday, August 31st (and if you bring in a coupon from the event, take 10% off your next purchase).
Even at the time (Paris, late 60s), Jef's style throughout the film must have seemed charmingly anachronistic - a nod to director Jean-Pierre Melville's obsession with American gangster and noir flicks of the 40s and 50s. Le Samourai certainly has that feel, but with an even more minimal palette, story, and dialogue. One's first impression of the film is how simple and un-flashy the whole thing is. The film seems to be shot entirely in steely blues and greys - certainly a far cry from the summer of love we imagine 1967 to be. In the mind of Jef Costello, it's like 60s and its attendant style excesses never happened.
Clad most of the film in a light khaki trench and pearl grey fedora, Jef is the epitome of minimalism, both in style and action. Occasionally he'll switch that palette up to include a white tie with a black shirt or a dark grey trench. His austere (but beautiful) style choices reflect the austere moral code of the hitman that he is. His choices read to us as almost an afterthought, but clearly great care has been put into projecting that image. It's almost like the French version of sprezzatura
The way he dresses and carries himself perhaps makes the film as relevant today - a classic khaki trench (and though the fedora is certainly suspect in 2018 if you pull it together like Jef does, no one will bat an eye), white shirt/black tie, or just a simple white tee shirt will never look out of place and will always have a classic air to it. Though paring things down seems so easy, it's a truism that the simplest style seems to take the most amount of work. Being devilishly handsome certainly helps though.