The first thing you see in Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1966 film, Le Samouraï, is an apartment. It’s a bare studio, undecorated and almost wholly bereft of any trace of human life. On the bed, a cigarette dangling out of his mouth as the smoke curls lazily towards the ceiling, is professional criminal Jef Costello, played with magisterial handsomeness by Alain Delon. Sharing the room with him is Costello’s one wild extravagance in an otherwise barren living space: a pet bird in a cage that chirps incessantly.

The rest of the opening scenes continue wordlessly and without sentiment. Costello steals a car and takes it to his shady connection in the outskirts of Paris to switch its plates and grab a gun. Beyond sketching the beginnings of the film’s plot, the sequence from apartment to car to garage establishes the rote mechanization of Costello’s character. He scarcely shows emotion, rarely talks, and performs his criminal duties with an admirable, detached professionalism. Stealing a car would appear, to Costello, to be no more exciting than buying groceries or filing paperwork.

Costello’s apartment in Le Samouraï.

His final piece of prep work is to establish his alibi. First, he goes to a woman’s, Jane Lagrange’s (played by Nathalie Delon) apartment, telling her that she must say he was with her until a bit before 2am; she happily agrees, telling a disinterested Costello that “it makes me feel like you need me.” There’s an implication of an affair, albeit one that feels one-sided, as if she’s waiting for Costello to show signs of life. Leaving her, he goes to a seedy hotel where some older acquaintances are playing cards. He tells them he arrived at 2am and stayed until after 7am, they grunt in agreement, barely acknowledging his presence.

His alibi established, Costello drives to a night club and parks his stolen car outside. He pushes up the collar of his raincoat, tips the brim of his hat lower and glides into the building, an exceptionally well-lit joint with a jazz band led by the pianist, Valérie. Costello wastes little time putting on his white gloves and sneaking to the backroom to shoot and kill the club’s owner, his target. Their brief interaction is telling. The club owner asks who he is, Costello responds, “I’m nobody”; when the club owner asks Costello what he wants, he responds “to kill you”; the owner lunges for a gun, but Costello shoots him dead first. He hurries out the door but runs into Valérie who sees him leaving the room. Costello quickens towards the exit, bursting into the main lounge where the camera fixates upon all of the faces looking towards Costello, unaware of his crime but staring at him, nonetheless

Though meticulous in his planning, Costello’s killing of the night club owner is hardly the perfect crime. The simple reason why this is true is that too many people saw him at the night club. His alibis are airtight, yes, but that scarcely matters if you leave some residue of yourself behind, even if it’s only a fleeting image of your face as you hurry out the front door. For the perfect crime sets its criminals the following ideal identified by Aaron Kunin: “to pass over a surface without leaving any identifying mark” 1

Costello is later rounded up by the police after a citywide raid of all men in coats with hats who look seedy. He’s picked up from the hotel with the card players, later alerting his contractors who worry he’s going to turn into a rat. In the lineup, however, the same witnesses upon whose faces the camera accusatorily rested as Costello made his escape suddenly can’t seem to decide what the killer looked like. The coat check girl claims he had a mustache, another man says it can’t be Costello, he’s certain the man looked differently; yet another man insists the opposite: it was Costello, he has no doubts. The final verdict comes to Valérie, who, if anyone, would be able to break the deadlock. She says definitively it was not Costello she saw leaving the room. The police follow up on his alibis and let him go, although the investigating officer decides to keep tabs on him. Something didn’t feel right. As the police inspector would later tell his detectives about Costello, “he’s not normal.”

Although Valérie’s decision to let Costello off the hook is later revealed to be a matter of her relationship to the man who hired Costello, the film insists that the rest of the people in the club are normal in the following way: they don’t pay close attention to what’s going on around them. Melville’s camerawork makes it obvious they see Costello leaving, but they don’t remember his face only a few hours later in the police lineup.

One way to think about this as an urban phenomenon. The film is set in Paris and, as many French films of this era were, is heavily indebted to American noir films – a genre preoccupied with New York and Los Angeles, the twin American metropolises. It’s important that the film’s characters are city-dwellers because people that live in cities are irredeemably changed by them.

Their inattentiveness confirms what Georg Simmel in 1903 noticed in The Metropolis and Mental Life, wherein he contrasts the effects of an urban lifestyle on the individual’s psychology with that of a rural lifestyle. Chief among the differences is a kind of perceptual hardening to the din and clangor that constantly surrounds the city-dweller; there’s more to be noticed than one’s conscious mind can possibly apprehend, so the city-dweller remains scarcely aware of his surroundings else he become overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of things happening around him. 2

That Costello can be seen yet remain anonymous would thus be a symptom of larger sociological forces that render some people completely imperceptive. And, insofar as inattentiveness constituted a problem, artists in the early 20th century began to think of how to weave the increasingly fragmentary and distracted nature of experience of modern life into coherent wholes. One such person was Ezra pound who, in 1911, wrote “In a Station of the Metro” which shares Le Samouraï’s focus on faces, Paris, and the subway. Pound’s poem consists of these two lines:

“The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.”

It’s an experience that should be common for anyone who has used a subway with some regularity. The appearance of a mass of crowded countenances all of which you’ve probably never seen before and all of which you’ll probably never see again. The poem is also short – fourteen words to be exact. Pound later wrote that he had tried on several different versions of the work, all stemming from the same intensely emotional experience he had in the Paris metro station. It was first a thirty-line poem; Pound destroyed that one because it was a work “of second intensity” and wrote one half that length six months later; still unsatisfied, he waited a year and wrote the final, shortest version which, being “hokku-like” corresponded to the imagistic punch of Japanese haikus. 3.

Crucial to Pound’s “Imagistic” project, and this poem in specific, was the steady deletion of anything superfluous. In his same account of “In a Station of the Metro’s” origins, Pound writes of his hate of ornament in writing:

Since the beginning of bad writing, writers have used images as ornaments. The point of Imagisme is that it does not use images as ornaments. The image is itself the speech. The image is the word beyond formulated language… One is tired of ornamentations, they are all a trick, and any sharp person can learn them. 4.

The key is “to record the precise instant when a thing outward and objective transforms itself, or darts into a thing inward and subjective. 5. Registering momentary impressions and weaving them into laconic poems, Pound sees this kind of writing as akin to impressionistic art which has its “logical end” in the cinematograph. 6.

The sparseness of the poem, its crowded urban setting and anti-ornamental furor, share a common lineage with Le Samouraï and its empty protagonist Jef Costello: modernism And perhaps nothing is more indicative of the forensic and aesthetic merging of modernism’s anti-decorative strain than Costello’s apartment.

It’s an apartment well suited for a criminal because it has nothing by which to identify Costello. The walls are bare, the wardrobes are empty, and the shelves are barren. This lack of decoration presents a challenge to the policemen who break in and bug the place. There’s hardly anywhere to put the bug. They settle on a rather conspicuous spot behind a curtain. When Costello arrives back home, sensing a trace of the suspicious, it scarcely takes a minute before he discovers the recording device. Without any things to cover it, there were only a couple of places something could be hidden.

His criminal lifestyle thus becomes an aesthetic by proxy. Wishing to remain anonymous, to pass through Paris without leaving a trace of himself behind, Costello lives without ornament, both in personality and in material possessions. His final escape from the police, a tense chase through the Paris Metro, which Costello knows better than anyone in the world, testifies to the extent to which his anonymity is a matter of disappearing into urban crowds, of being a nobody. In a 1968 interview, Jean-Pierre Melville confirmed the essential cryptic nature of Delon’s character like this:

Delon is a mystery, a complete enigma. We don’t know who Delon is, what he used to do, where he came from, and why he has become a hired killer. That was a deliberate choice on my part, because I can’t stand the sort of film which tries to place a character by having him announce ‘I was with the army in Indochina and later in Algeria. I used to kill for the Government’s profit and now I’m killing for myself.’ 7.

But what’s so modernist about being a nobody? The coincidences with Pound’s poem have been noted – the shared setting of the Paris Metro, the fascination with faces in crowds, the invectives against decoration or ornamentation, the fact that Melville called Le Samouraï a “Japanese film” and that Pound repeatedly mentioned the influence of Haiku on his own work. Yet the emptiness of Delon’s character, his lack of history and lack of decorum, hints at a deeper strand of modernism than just a subterranean connection with a poem. For Costello’s closet analogy of visual emptiness isn’t with the poets, it’s with the architects.

The affinity between film and architecture begins in the early 20th century as Douglas Smith in his work on Paris and widescreen notes that the era’s architects felt “that film was the most appropriate means of representing both modern architecture and the modern city, with its capacity to render movements through space and the rhythms of collective urban life” 8. Contrary to a photograph which freezes its subject in place, film frees its onlookers to move with the camera, to experience the change in perspectives as one strolls by a building or looks through a window. It’s not just that film and architecture are both visual mediums, it’s about the type of looking they require. A mobile way of seeing. In Mark Wigley’s account of modern architecture, he goes so far as to write that the modernists believed that “Architecture is no longer simply a visual object with certain properties. It is actually involved in the construction of the visual before it is placed within the visual. Indeed, vision itself becomes an architectural phenomenon… A building can no longer be separated from the gaze that appears to be directed at it.” 9. Taken seriously, this would ask us to treat visual design as a two-way endeavor – the difference between what you see and how you see is effaced and design becomes a potentially corrupting or purifying force, depending on the presence of ornament.

In 1908 Adolf Loos, an influential architect and theorist, published one of the seminal texts of architectural modernism, “Ornament and Crime.” In the short, polemical essay Loos argues that “the evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornament from utilitarian objects.” 10. For, as his essay title suggests, there’s something inherently violent about ornamentation. The cause of the violence, however, isn’t so easy to parse, partly because of the way Loos uses irony, and partly because large parts of his argument don’t make much sense. To illustrate his point, Loos uses the example of the “Papuan” who “kills his enemies and eats them” and “tattoos his skin, his boat, his paddles, in short everything he can lay hands on.” 11. Against the alleged brutality of the Papuan, he offers the modern man whose freedom from ornament is “a sign of spiritual strength.” 12. Loos, of course, owes us an explanation here; he’s saying that criminals ornament themselves, that the explicitly stated backwardness of the Papuan is easily signaled by his ornamentation, but says nothing about why this is the case.

The stronger argument Loos makes against ornament has less to do with half-hearted gestures at anthropology. It’s the idea that there’s something violent or wasteful about the act of ornamenting itself, rather than his more speciously bold (and ironic) claim that “if someone who is tattooed dies at liberty it means he has died a few years before committing a murder” for “the tattooed who are not in prison are latent criminals or degenerate aristocrats.” 13. The more useful idea that Loos forwards is that decoration is violent because it imposes useless and outdated forms on objects that no longer need them. Ornamented objects are more expensive and take longer to make, though they had no actual utility to their object, thereby forcing a culture to work needlessly on things that have no value and burden itself with taking care of objects whose forms have long since become antiquated.

Loos solution is purification through whitewash: “Soon the streets of the city will glisten like white walls. Like Zion, the holy city, the capital of heaven.” 14 Liberation from ornamentation is a purging of the accumulated marks and traces of a past that weighs too heavily on the present. A coat of whitewash frees one from the unnecessary labor of attending to decorative marks and forms that have ceased to be useful or instructive.

Le Corbusier, the most famous of modernist architects, appears to have thought quite a lot about “Ornament and Crime.” In his 1925 book, The Decorative Arts of Today, Le Corbusier’s final chapter is entitled “A Coat of Whitewash: The Law of Ripolin.” For Le Corbusier, too, whitewash is a matter of cleanliness and purification. With whitewash “his [the resident’s] home is made clean. There are no more dirty, dark corners. Everything is shown as it is. Then comes inner cleanness, for the course adopted leads to refusal to allow anything at all which is not correct, authorized, intended, desired, thought-out: no action before thought.” 15. The coat of Ripolin is the “elimination of the equivocal” without which “we make our houses into museums or temples” 16.

Le Corbusier shares Loos’ contempt for the useless labor of tending to outdated objects (like one would presumably do in a museum), but tracks the corresponding mental phenomenon that whitewash allows – the emergence of clear, unequivocal ideas. This receives a more direct elucidation in Towards a New Architecture, Le Corbusier’s most famous book. Writing as if to right the course of a “topsy-turvy” era and its growing pains, Le Corbusier cautions against returning to the “decorative arts” of past ages rather than encouraging the development of “the new age with its desires set in order, clear and lucid.” 17. However, “like the straw which drowning men are said to clutch at in a storm” decoration is seductive, wrongfully so, but still alluring. 18.

The link between femininity and decoration is clear here: Le Corbusier associates ornament with “light-mindedness” and later, in his evolutionary schema with sensuality. Just as he connects whitewash to reason and clear ideas, so he connects decoration with the lower order of the senses, writing:

Decoration is of a sensorial and elementary order, as is colour, and is suited to simple races, peasants and savages. Harmony and proportion incite the intellectual faculties and arrest the man of culture. The peasant loves ornament and decorates his walls. The civilized man wears a well-cut suit…Decoration is the essential oversurplus, the quantum of the peasant; and proportion is the essential oversurplus, the quantum of the cultivated man.19

From the primitivism of the senses to the evolution of reason, Le Corbusier’s hierarchy subordinates decoration to the lower, sensory realm while the absence of decoration, like whitewash and modern men’s clothing (a well-cut suit), free one’s mind, allowing it the room to pursue its higher faculties and access clear ideas. It’s on shaky terrain, following David Batchelor’s Chromophobia, much of what Batchelor argues about the Western world’s problematic subordination of colour to the superficial world of the senses, the feminine or the oriental, could be said of Le Corbusier’s and Loos’s model of cultural progression. 20. It simultaneously says that decoration is not important, that ornament is “light-minded” fare that distracts from more serious endeavors, while also claiming that ornament is dangerous, that it needs to be purged with whitewash lest it continue to infect its viewers and impose upon their vision.

The guiding idea behind modernism’s visual agenda is that ornament is a corrupting force, that decoration is not only deadweight, but actively does damage to the cultures and the peoples beholden to it. Implicit in this is that one’s surroundings dictate the type of person one can be; the ornament (or lack thereof) within a room guides its inhabitants’ mental activity. Whitewash leads to reason, ornament to “light-mindedness.” Le Corbusier is firm on this point in Towards a New Architecture. Modernity, separated from earlier epochs by “a deep chasm,” is at a crossroads. [ 20. Le Corbusier, TANW, 271]. Industrial production has uprooted workers’ traditional forms of life, leading to new needs. Le Corbusier writes with reverence about the wonders of modernity – the steel, the concrete, the fast cars, the airplanes, the ocean liners – and with vitriol on the “anachronistic” dwellings of the workers who create them. Every day they go to their factories and marvel at their tools and products but must slog wearily back to homes that no longer correspond to their “new mass of demands.” 21. The choice, then, is simple for Le Corbusier: “Architecture or demoralization,” which later becomes “Architecture or Revolution.” 22.

The saving force of modernity, Le Corbusier’s architecture is as much about changing people as it is about changing buildings. In fact, the two are inseparable. One’s room dictates one’s personality or manner of thinking. In the same book he includes a short section entitled “The Manual of the Dwelling” which provides instructions in stilted, imperative sentences like “Buy only practical furniture and never buy decorative ‘pieces’”; and, “Demand bare walls in your bedroom, your living-room and your dining room”; and, the conclusion, “Bear in mind economy in your actions, your household management, and your thoughts.” 23. That “The Manual of the Dwelling” should conclude by relating action, household management, and thought is indicative of the extent to which Le Corbusier understood architecture to encompass all realms of life. As Aaron Kunin writes of Le Corbusier, for him “architecture is destiny. The room determines what can take place in the room.” 24.

Jef Costello’s apartment looks like it was designed with “The Manual of the Dwelling” in mind. Bare walls, no unnecessary furniture or possessions, and all his “odds and ends” are in cabinets or drawers. Perhaps the only thing Le Corbusier would disapprove of is the size of the apartment – it’s only one room, scarcely big enough for one to feel at home. The interior, however, the most important part, is correctly bare.

Costello feeds his bird in his apartment.

Costello’s clothes – a sharp blue suit, a beige raincoat, and a gray hat – are also admirably modern. Though outdated now, Costello’s suit and hat were of the type that Le Corbusier considered purified of ornamental whimsy, for he begins The Decorative Art of Today by contrasting two pictures of the clothing of Louis XIV and Lenin. Louis XIV is adorned, quite ridiculously, in “ostrich feathers… ermine silk, brocade and lace; a cane of gold, ebony, ivory and diamonds” while Lenin’s clothes, which Le Corbusier understands to be the pinnacle of modern dress, consist solely of a “bowler hat and a smooth white collar.” 25.


Costello in his uniform at the outskirts of the city.

When asked about why all of his characters wear the same uniform (“hat, raincoat, etc.”) Melville responded by saying:

I think the virile hero needs a horse, boots and saddle. As you’ve probably noticed, they’re not exactly common on the streets of Paris. But at least you can give him a hat, a raincoat with a belt and a collar that can be turned up, and a button to do up when it rains. It’s a man’s get-up, an echo both of the Western and of military uniform. 26.

The combination of the practical (“a button to do up when it rains”) and the “virile,” Costello’s clothes essentially fall in line with modernism’s hierarchy. To be a man is to be unadorned, utilitarian, and rational; to be a woman is to be “light-minded,” ornamented, and sensual. What’s strange, however, about Costello’s uniform, and modernism’s conception of fashion in general, is that, at Mark Wigley notes, “Modern architecture disciplines itself against fashion from the beginning… The crime of the architect-as-decorator is not simply decorating architecture by adding gratuitous ornament to it, but rendering architecture decorative by making it subservient to the fickle sensibility of fashion rather than fixed standards like those offered by the new means of industrialized production.” 27. Melville acknowledges that he’d like his character to wear a cowboy costume, but that’s hardly modern and scarcely French. It’s out of fashion, in other words. And for Le Corbusier, the suit is that which resists the whimsical changes in fashions; or, Wigley again: “The removal of fashion is again literally identified with the removal of ornamental clothing.” 28.

It’s obvious why fitting in is of the upmost importance to the man who doesn’t want to get caught. Yet, fitting in was also a concept the modernists took to be the essence of modern men’s fashion. Wigley notes that the benefit of the standardization of men’s suits was that they were “able to act as a mask behind which the individual is shielded from the increasingly threatening and seemingly uncontrollable forces of modern life” 29. In his own treatise on the subject, Loos writes that the standard of modern dress is “being dressed in such a way that one stands out the least” 30. Clothes, and suits in particular, were meant to efface the modern man’s individuality, to make him inconspicuous and hide his vulnerable inner life from the onslaught of metropolitan life. Costello’s “uniform,” his 1960s Parisian sartorial elegance, is fashionable, but in such a way that keeps him at a remove. For someone like Costello, then, it’s critical that he wears the correct clothes if he’s to avoid exposing himself. Fashion, if done correctly, is a mask, and the only good mask is one that’s been cleansed of any conspicuous details.

The evolution of Costello’s archetype, the detached, empty, criminal-for-hire, closely tracks its era’s fashions trend. I’ll cite two examples here. There’s Neil (Robert De Niro) in Michael Mann’s 1995 epic Heat – a man with more personality than Costello, but who owns less things. He wears a light suit jacket and slacks with a perfectly starched collar, but because it’s Los Angeles in 1995, he never wears a tie when he’s working. His apartment, like Costello’s, is almost entirely bare, leading one of his associates, Chris, to ask him in a particularly telling scene, “when are you going to get some furniture?” Neil responds, “when I get around to it.” After Chris presses him about his detached lifestyle and lack of a girlfriend, Neil responds with a mini lecture that doubles as his personal manifesto:

Remember Jimmy McElwain on the yard used to say, ‘you want to be making moves on the street, have no attachments, allow nothing to be in your life that you cannot walk out on in thirty seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner. 31.

Neil and his crew are professional thieves and are quite good at it. He’s also clear that his lack of ornament is a job-related hazard: owning nothing makes him harder to catch. By the movie’s end, however, he’s brought down by his failure to uphold his own standards. He has a girlfriend, but the real problem is he can’t let an old grudge go and circles back into a police trap. Even Neil has his limits.

Neil’s crime partner, Chris, sleeps on the floor of Neil’s empty apartment.

Neil in his customary outfit – suit jacket with a perfectly starched white collar.

This is also what complicates the life of Ryan Gosling’s character in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2011). Gosling’s character is a getaway driver-for-hire known simply as “The Driver,” and rivals for Costello for inexpressiveness. His personality is empty – he rarely talks, shows no emotion, and has no personal background. He steals the cars he uses for work and has no contacts outside of his criminal circle. He also shares another important feature with Costello: he has a preternatural instinct for navigating the city and making an escape. Costello uses the subway; the Driver is impossible to catch once he’s in a car. The central tension in the film emerges when the Driver starts to spend time with his neighbour, Irene, and her son. He likes them and they like him, but Irene’s volatile husband soon comes back home from prison, saddled with debt from a previous job gone wrong. The Driver agrees to help him out of something like love for Irene, which sets off a chain of events that causes the Driver to run afoul of the mob.

The end of each of these three films is remarkably similar: two of the men end up dead (Neil and Costello) while the other, the Driver, has a bad knife wound that leaves him quite close to perishing as well. Three men, all victims of their attachments with holes in their bodies to prove it. Perhaps this is one way, a particularly un-subtle way, of saying that even the most hardened, disciplined criminals have hearts, that the steely façade cracks eventually.

One of the ironies of these films’ subterranean debt to modernism is that the abolishment of ornament was supposed to serve an honest end. As Auguste Perret, Le Corbusier’s early mentor, famously said, “Decoration hides a flaw in construction,” which is similar to Loos’s argument that ornament is a useless heap of distracting material. Modernism’s obsession with whitewash was supposed to serve a liberating purpose, to cleanse the eye of decorative excess. What’s left over, however, isn’t totally clear, at least in these films. For Costello, Neil, and the Driver aren’t living like they do for aesthetic reasons, but to avoid the police and mob. That is, their complete lack of decoration, in their living spaces, clothing, and in their personalities, serves to hide them, to erase any trace of their presence wherever they go. Again, modernism and the perfect crime are strange bedfellows.

The atmosphere that these three films share is claustrophobia. The police and the mob are bearing down and these men are sent scrambling to avoid them. It’s a simple but effective set-up for generating suspense – friends turn to enemies, escape routes turn to blockades, a new danger lurks around every corner and the clock continues to tick. It’s also a sentiment shared by the architects: the continual beating back of ornamental encroachment, the incessant gatekeeping of what’s modernism and what’s threatening modernism. Keeping the walls clean and modernism pure requires a constant vigilance against decoration, otherwise modernism becomes a “style” or a “fad” just like any other time-bound phenomenon which eventually fades.

The criminals-for-hire that populate these films share a similar anxiety – that they’ll be yanked into the messy details of a world from which they’ve largely been detached. It’s not an uncommon feeling – to want to live indifferently to the world’s changing circumstances. One oddity about them, however, is that they’re fashionable, they blend into the world despite having so little relation to it. The easiest way to make sense of this is that they’re criminals; liberated from the burdens of normal society, they’re also perpetually in danger of being captured. Rejecting the world causes them to be precariously related to it.

The fugitive aspect of modernism – it’s obsession with avoiding the corrupting force of ornament – finds easy expression in these crime films. Beset on all sides by the suffocating presence of the city and its social circles inexorably closing in on them, the criminal and the modernist betray a fierce desire to live without an accumulated history, whether personal and societal, that weighs too heavily on their present lives, limiting their freedom and overloading them with unnecessary labor. The world, in short, is a burden. Its fashions change and accumulate, smothering its inhabitants with useless ornament.

These films thus capture the affective desperation that underpins the modernist sentiment. Costello, Neil, and the Driver represent the fragmentary afterlife of modernism’s anti-social, anti-decorative strain, dramatizing the question of what it might look and feel like to live in direct conflict with a world that’s always trying to encroach on one’s purity (or criminality, which has its own standard of purity). They hinge on the twin opposites of freedom and claustrophobia, just like Le Corbusier and the others’ writings. The thriller, however, does a much better job of making these feelings felt than any polemic, which means they do a much better propagandizing job for modernism’s cleansing project than the architects’ gatekeeping. After all, nothing makes the world feel quite so oppressive as when everyone wants you dead.


  1. Aaron Kunin, “Decoration, Modernism, Cruelty,” Modernism/Modernity 17 (Jan 2010) pgs. 87-107.
  2. Georg Simmel. “The Metropolis and Mental Life” in On Individuality and Social Forms. Edited by Donald N. Levine. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971) pgs. 324-340.
  3. Ezra Pound, Gaudier-Brzeska, a Memoir (New York City: New Directions Press, 1960) 89
  4. ibid. 88
  5. (ibid. 89)
  6. (ibid.)
  7. Rui Noguiera and François Truchaud “Jean-Pierre Melville: a samurai in Paris,” Sight and Sound, 1968.
  8. Douglas Smith, “Paris Plays Itself,” Architecture and Culture 3 (April 2015) pgs. 17-18
  9. Mark Wigley, White Walls, Designer Dresses (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1995) 2
  10. Adolf Loos, “Ornament and Crime,” in Programs and manifestoes on 20th-century Architecture, Ulrich Conrads, ed. (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1975) pg. 24
  11. ibid. 19
  12. ibid. 24
  13. ibid. 19
  14. ibid. 20
  15. Le Corbusier, The Decorative Arts of Today, trans. James I. Dunnett (London: Architectural Press, 1987) pgs. 188-189
  16. ibid.
  17. Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture trans. Frederick Etchells. (New York: Dover Publications, 1986) pg. 90
  18. ibid.
  19. ibid. pg. 143
  20. David Batchelor. Chromophobia (London: Reaktion Press, 2000)
  21. ibid. 278
  22. ibid. 276 and 280
  23. ibid. 122-123
  24. Kunin 40
  25. Le Corbusier, The Decorative Art of Today, 6
  26. Noguiera and Truchaud)
  27. Wigley, 37-38
  28. ibid. 40
  29. Ibid. 91
  30. Loos in Wigley, ibid.
  31. Michael Mann, Heat, 1995

About The Author

Andy Reischling is currently working on the series 'POV' on PBS, the longest-running documentary showcase on television. You can find all of his writing on downweek.com.

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