Robert Bresson: A Spiritual Style in Film

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A&C Black, Apr 19, 2004 - Social Science - 199 pages
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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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Robert Bresson: a spiritual style in film

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Although over his long life (1901-99) Bresson only directed 13 films, his unique, austere style, combined with his intensely religious, "distinctly Catholic sensibility," set him apart on the world ... Read full review

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
9
A Demanding Artist Who Respects His Audience
11
Angels of Sin and The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne
25
All Is GraceThe Diary of a Country Priest
44
A Man Escaped
58
Pickpocket
71
The Trial of Joan of Arc
84
Au hasard Balthasar
97
Four Nights of a Dreamer
135
Lancelot of the Lake
145
The Devil Probably
156
LArgent
167
Images in a Certain Order
178
FlLMOGRAPHY
190
BIBLIOGRAPHY
196
BRESSON FILMS IN AMERICA 200

Mouchette
110
A Gentle Woman
122

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The Cinema of France
Phil Powrie
Limited preview - 2006

About the author (2004)

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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