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Diary of a Country Priest (1951)

Journal d'un curé de campagne (original title)
Approved | | Drama | 5 April 1954 (USA)
A young priest taking over the parish at Ambricourt tries to fulfill his duties even as he fights a mysterious stomach ailment.

Director:

Writers:

(novel),
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Priest of Ambricourt (Curé d'Ambricourt)
Jean Riveyre ...
Count (Le Comte)
Adrien Borel ...
Priest of Torcy (Curé de Torcy) (as Andre Guibert)
Rachel Bérendt ...
Countess (La Comtesse) (as Marie-Monique Arkell)
...
Miss Louise
Nicole Ladmiral ...
Chantal
Martine Lemaire ...
Séraphita Dumontel
Antoine Balpêtré ...
Dr. Delbende (Docteur Delbende) (as Balpetre)
Jean Danet ...
Olivier
Gaston Séverin ...
Canon (Le Chanoine) (as Gaston Severin)
Yvette Etiévant ...
Femme de ménage
Bernard Hubrenne ...
Priest Dufrety
Léon Arvel ...
Fabregars
Martial Morange ...
Deputy mayor (L'Adjoint)
Gilberte Terbois ...
Mrs. Dumouchel (Mme Dumouchel)
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Diary of a Country Priest  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Reportedly, director Andrei Tarkovsky's favorite film. See more »

Quotes

Curé d'Ambricourt: I was so disappointed I had to lean against the wall.
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User Reviews

 
it's hard to be a saint in the country
1 June 2007 | by See all my reviews

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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