2001-2010BooksRobert BressonTony Pipolo

Tony Pipolo – Robert Bresson: A Passion for Film (2010)



Perhaps the most highly regarded French filmmaker after Jean Renoir, Robert Bresson created a new kind of cinema through meticulous refinement of the form’s grammatical and expressive possibilities. In thirteen features over a forty-year career, he held to an uncompromising moral vision and aesthetic rigor that remain unmatched. Robert Bresson: A Passion for Film is the first comprehensive study to give equal attention to the films, their literary sources, and psycho-biographical aspects of the work. Concentrating on the films’ cinematographic, imagistic, narrative, and thematic structures, Pipolo provides a nuanced analysis of each film-including nearly 100 illustrations-elucidating Bresson’s unique style as it evolved from the impassioned Les Anges du péche to such disconsolate meditations on the world as The Devil Probably and L’Argent. Special attention is also given to psychosexual aspects of the films that are usually neglected. Bresson has long needed a thoroughgoing treatment by a critic worthy to the task: he gets it here. From it emerges a provocative portrait of an extraordinary artist whose moral engagement and devotion to the craft of filmmaking are without equal.

Summary: A wonderful guide for appreciation and understanding!
Rating: 5

I was given this book for Christmas, and couldn’t be happier with it. Bresson is a subject who has been needing some responsible modern appreciation free from the blatant agendas of Gary Indiana and David Ehrenstein, both of whom push their interpretations as the only real readings of the films of Bresson and prefer to discredit his spirituality, regardless of what the man himself had stated numerously in interviews throughout his entire career. This situation is addressed in the introduction to the book, in which the author himself points out this dilemma.

Pipolo has pursued Bresson with zeal and accumulated a wealth of knowledge that he shares with us from hundreds of articles, reviews, interviews, essays and firsthand discussions with the filmmaker’s widow. He has provided personal translations of French interviews with Bresson, which only further demonstrates the seriousness he approached this book with.

He also offers extensive readings of each film, with context regarding film history and cinematic techniques, and offers new appreciation for lesser-known films in Bresson’s oeuvre.

Using his background in both film history and psychology, he has interesting and illuminating interpretations about the master’s cinema. Unlike Indiana and others, however, he is quick to point out these are merely personal interpretations, and he offers them only for consideration, opting to let each viewer ultimately come to their own conclusions. This, to me, is what I look for in academic film criticism.

This book makes a wonderful companion to exploring the works of Robert Bresson, aiding newcomers in appreciation and enriching the experience for the established lover of Bresson.

* Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
* Number Of Pages: 407
* Publication Date: 2010-01-19
* ISBN-10 / ASIN: 019531980X
* ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780195319804

* Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
* Number Of Pages: 407
* Publication Date: 2010-01-19
* ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0195319796
* ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780195319798


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