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Captured French Resistance fighter Andre Devigny awaits a certain death sentence for espionage in a stark Nazi prison. Facing malnourishment and paralyzing fear, he must engineer an extraordinary escape, complicated by the questions of whom to trust, and in the absence of options, how to kill? Written by
Simple yet practically "spiritual" in its focus on humanity.
Bresson's command of the cinematic language...and more importantly, his restraint... make this a very powerful story of one man's determination to find meaning in his actions, focused goal, and adherence to his beliefs.
Presumably tipping off the viewer with the title (A Man Escaped) we already suspect how it will end, and therefore the tension isn't in the final twists of the story, but rather, his journey to that place.
Narrative stripped down of all melodramatic trappings, the film manages to reveal a larger truth about man's struggle against unknowable odds, his struggle with himself, and his resolve to move forward. A couple of the side-characters are from the church, or pastors, which give the ongoing conversations in the common areas an added resonance to "grace" and a possibility of transcendental deliverance. Even though the lead character doesn't seem to truck much with religious faith.
He has his own - in his resolve to escape.
It's appropriate that we barely know why the lead character is in prison, only that he is already on the way there when the film starts. (And even then, tries a failed attempt to run from the car that is transporting him. So much for back-story. The character is revealed through his subsequent actions.)
A simple beautiful film focused on humanity at its most desperate, spare, and focused.
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