Mouchette is a young girl living in the country. Her mother is dying and her father does not take care of her. Mouchette remains silent in the face of the humiliations she undergoes. One ... See full summary »
A reconstruction of the trial of Joan of Arc (based entirely on the transcripts of the real-life trial), concerning Joan's imprisonment, interrogation and final execution at the hands of ... See full summary »
A forged 500-franc note is cynically passed from person to person and shop to shop, until it falls into the hands of a genuine innocent who doesn't see it for what it is - which will have ... See full summary »
Sylvie Van den Elsen,
Charles drifts through politics, religion and psychoanalysis, rejecting them all. Once he realises the depth of his disgust with the moral and physical decline of the society he lives in, ... See full summary »
Henri de Maublanc
Rich young Anne-Marie thinks she has found her vocation when she joins a Dominican convent as a novice. The convent specialises in rehabilitating female prisoners, and Anne-Marie becomes ... See full summary »
A young woman kills herself, leaving no explanation to her grief-stricken pawnbroker husband. We learn in flashback about how they met, married, and how she failed to adapt her lifestyle to... See full summary »
The 'dreamer' is Jacques, a young painter, who by chance runs into Marthe as she's contemplating suicide on the Pont-Neuf in Paris. They talk, and agree to see each other again the next ... See full summary »
Guillaume des Forêts,
A million miles away from 'Camelot' or 'Excalibur', this film ruthlessly strips the Arthurian legend down to its barest essentials. Arthur's knights, far from being heroic, are conniving ... See full summary »
Laura Duke Condominas,
In Ambricourt, an idealistic young Priest (Claude Laydu) arrives to be the local parish priest. He attempts to live a Christ-like life, but his actions are misunderstood. The community of the small town does not accept him, and although having a serious disease in the stomach, the inexperienced and frail priest tries to help the dwellers, and has a situation with the wealthy family of the location. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Alongside the biggest artistic achievements in French cinema of the fifties such as Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Les Diaboliques" (1955) or Julien Duvivier's "Voici Le Temps Des Assassins" (1956), one has to reserve a first-class place for Robert Bresson's third long-feature film where he proves that Georges Bernanos' universe is his. I've read Bernanos' novel and it was a perilous task to transpose it on the screen for it was a rich, undulating book. Bresson's piece of work makes it justice in its own special way and deeply involves the audience in the battle led by this young priest to keep the faith.
Although the filmmaker later disowned this jewel because it didn't really answer his cinematographic demands, the most constitutive elements of his cinematographic approach are already here: a straightforward style, an austere black and white cinematography, a rigorous, hieratic directing which give many shots, the form of little paintings. Before he revolutionized the Seventh Art, Bresson cut his teeth as a painter and kept some principles and techniques for his vision of cinema. The actors or should I say the "amateur models" answer to Bresson's demands and thus adopt a deliberately bland acting even if Claude Laydu was a professional actor. He'll hold a secondary role in André Cayatte's "Nous Sommes Tous Des Assassins" (1952) and will be later the founder of a popular TV program for children: "Bonne Nuit Les Petits".
Let's also hail the shrewd narrative process which sees the priest write down in a textbook, his actions and his thoughts and the next shot showcases the written action. Through the young priest's inner turmoil and his confrontations with the inhabitants of the village, it's quite easy to detect one of Bresson's recurrent themes: the opposition between a subjective mind and a cruel objectivity. The young priest of Ambricourt is rejected by all the inhabitants who later will treat him as an alcoholic whereas he only asks for integration. The Count who seems at first on his side will later dismiss him after the death of the countess. And in the calvary lived by the young priest with its grueling tests, one inevitably thinks of the Way of the Cross experienced by the Christ. It's all the more evident as there are strong analogies like the moment when the priest falls in the muddy country and is received in Seraphita's home. In the end, a spiritual dimension shrouds a film full of grace and an emotion seizes the audience.
You will never be able to exhaust all the treasures that Bresson's monument conceals. Like good wine, it improves with age and this is one that requires multiple viewings.
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