Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson – L’argent AKA Money (1983)

Quote:
In his ruthlessly clear-eyed final film, French master Robert Bresson pushed his unique blend of spiritual rumination and formal rigor to a new level of astringency. Transposing a Tolstoy novella to contemporary Paris, L’argent follows a counterfeit bill as it originates as a prop in a schoolboy prank, then circulates like a virus among the corrupt and the virtuous alike before landing with a young truck driver and leading him to incarceration and violence. With brutal economy, Bresson constructs his unforgiving vision of original sin out of starkly perceived details, rooting his characters in a dehumanizing material world that withholds any hope of transcendence Read More »

Robert Bresson – Journal d’un curé de campagne aka Diary of a Country Priest [+commentary] (1951)

Quote:
A new priest (Claude Laydu) arrives in the French country village of Ambricourt to attend to his first parish. The apathetic and hostile rural congregation rejects him immediately. Through his diary entries, the suffering young man relays a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from the village and from God. With his fourth film, Robert Bresson began to implement his stylistic philosophy as a filmmaker, stripping away all inessential elements from his compositions, the dialogue and the music, exacting a purity of image and sound. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne AKA The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (1945)

Quote:
“Les dames du Bois de Boulogne is a 1945 film directed by Robert Bresson. It is a modern adaptation of a section of Diderot’s Jacques le fataliste (1796), telling the story of a man who is tricked into marrying a former prostitute. The title means “the women of the Bois de Boulogne”, a park in Paris. Les Dames was Bresson’s second feature and is an early example of his dramatic experimentation and innovations in reducing dramatic form to its bare essentials, signifying his status as an auteur, rather than simply a metteur en scène. It is also his last film to feature a cast entirely composed of professional actors.The film’s editing rhythms are similar to Bresson’s later work. However, while his later work often reflects Bresson’s personal Catholic beliefs and Christian-intellectual mentality, Les Dames is a more secular work. The redemptive ending is more secular than spiritual although it does establish Bresson’s later, more refined, thematic obsessions with redemption and salvation.” Read More »

Robert Bresson – Au hasard Balthazar aka Balthazar [Criterion] (1966)

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Jim Ridley wrote:
With exquisite, heartrending calm, Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar lays out the life of a donkey, from first brays to final rest. Baptized Balthazar, the donkey goes through passages of life parallel to his early owner, a farmer’s daughter named Marie (played as an adult by Anne Wiazemsky).
Together and separately, they experience the full spectrum of man’s failings: Balthazar is kicked by passing thugs, beaten by an owner, and eventually used for theft, while Marie is seduced, abandoned and ultimately assaulted. Yet while Bresson’s vision is harsh, it’s also redemptive, even merciful. It ends on a note of quiet transcendence, as if to say all suffering, no matter how grave, cannot last. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Au hasard Balthazar (1966)

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Jim Ridley wrote:
With exquisite, heartrending calm, Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece Au Hasard Balthazar lays out the life of a donkey, from first brays to final rest. Baptized Balthazar, the donkey goes through passages of life parallel to his early owner, a farmer’s daughter named Marie (played as an adult by Anne Wiazemsky).
Together and separately, they experience the full spectrum of man’s failings: Balthazar is kicked by passing thugs, beaten by an owner, and eventually used for theft, while Marie is seduced, abandoned and ultimately assaulted. Yet while Bresson’s vision is harsh, it’s also redemptive, even merciful. It ends on a note of quiet transcendence, as if to say all suffering, no matter how grave, cannot last. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Le Diable Probablement AKA The Devil, Probably (1977)

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Quote:
Having largely focused on literary adaptations from 1951’s Diary of a Country Priest through 1974’s Lancelot du Lac, Robert Bresson turned his attention to the politics of the present with this seminal, searing send-up of post-’68 France. Our protagonist is Charles, a young man adrift who tries out a variety of activities to lend meaning to his life: drugs, psychoanalysis, ecology, radical politics… With surgical precision (and, contrary to his reputation, a sense of humor), Bresson vividly chronicles how Charles and his similarly listless fellow travelers come to know firsthand the emptiness of modern existence, and the question becomes not so much how to cope but rather how to escape. Perhaps Bresson’s most explicitly political film, and among the most chilling cinematic portraits of a historical moment. Read More »

Robert Bresson – Les anges du péché AKA Angels of Sin (1943)

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Synopsis wrote:
A well-off young woman decides to become a nun, joining a convent that rehabilitates female prisoners. Through their program, she meets a woman named Thérèse who refuses any help because she says she was innocent of the crime she was convicted for. After being released from prison, Thérèse murders the actual perpetrator of the crime and comes to seek sanctuary in the convent. Read More »