Robert Bresson

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Overview

Although Robert Bresson is widely regarded by movie critics and students of the cinema as one of the greatest directors of the twentieth century, his films are largely unknown and are rarely shown in the English-speaking world. Nonetheless, Susan Sontag has called Bresson "the master of the reflective mode in film."Martin Scorsese suggested that a young filmmaker should ask: "Is it as tough as Bresson?... Is [meaning] as ruthlessly pared down, as direct, as unflinching in its gaze at aspects of life I might feel more comfortable ignoring?" Questions that every reader of this book and every viewer of Bresson's films will also ask.Joseph Cunneen's book, now in paperback, introduces Bresson's movies to a broader audience, assesses thirteen of his most significant films in the context of detailed plot summaries, vivid descriptions of characters and settings, and perceptive, jargon-free insights into the director's execution, intention, and technique. Each of these films in its own way illustrates what Joseph Cunneen calls Bresson's "spiritual style." Though not necessarily focused on the explicitly religious, they illustrate two complementary principles: on the negative side, the rejection of what the director called "photographed theater" with its artificiality and dependence on celebrity performers. On the more positive side, as Bresson himself expressed it, the conviction that, "The supernatural is only the real rendered more precise; real things seen close up."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826416056
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author


Joseph Cunneen is co-founder of the international quarterly Cross Currents where he was also editor for nearly half a century. He has published studies on the film makers Kieslowski, Rohmer, Tarkovsky, and Bresson, and has contributed articles on religious and cultural issues to such journals as America, Commonweal, Esprit, Midstream, and The Nation.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
1. A Demanding Artist Who Respects His Audience 11
2. Bresson before Bresson: Angels of Sin and The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne 25
3. "All Is Grace"--The Diary of a Country Priest 44
4. The Spirit Blows through Prison: A Man Escaped 58
5. A Ballet of Hands: Pickpocket 71
6. A Saint Jousts with Her Judges: The Trial of Joan of Arc 84
7. The Donkey as Witness: Au hasard Balthasar 97
8. The Purity of Rebellion: Mouchette 110
9. Marriage without Communication: A Gentle Woman 122
10. The Education of a Romantic: Four Nights of a Dreamer 135
11. The End of Knighthood: Lancelot of the Lake 145
12. Apocalypse Now: The Devil Probably 156
13. A Murderous Rage for Money: L'Argent 167
14. Images in a Certain Order 178
Filmography 190
Bibliography 196
Bresson Films in America 200
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