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Diary of a Country Priest (1951)

Journal d'un curé de campagne (original title)
Not Rated | | 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:

Robert Bresson

Writers:

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

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

5 April 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diary of a Country Priest See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the DVD's commentary, Claude Laydu felt repelled by Robert Bresson's directing methods. He claimed Bresson "would work on an actor, like a sculptor models his clay". The commentary says: "Bresson worked with Laydu every Sunday for a year, persuading him gradually into the role. He lived for many weeks with a group of young priests, absorbing their mannerisms and gestures, and during shooting he starved himself so as to acquire the authentic mask of undernourishment and illness." See more »

Quotes

Curé d'Ambricourt: All is grace.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A rewarding experience
24 December 2005 | by jameskinsmanSee all my reviews

Journal d'un cure de Campagne is about a young priest who, whilst suffering from an illness, is assigned to a new parish in a French country village. The story is told by the priests recounting of his experiences in his diary. This itself is a powerful narrative device, as we not only understand the experiences of the protagonist, but also how he reflects upon them with hindsight, relating his observations to faith and human nature. As he carries out his duties in his new parish though, he is treated with animosity and hatred by many of the villiagers, because they see him as an unwanted intrusion into their lives. As he becomes estranged, and to an extend outcast by the townspeople, he increasingly relies on his faith for strength and comfort, however even this begins to fade as he witnesses the townspeople purvey sinful and malicous behaviour, damaging his faith in human nature.

The films of Robert Bresson, although wonderful, can at times seem austere almost to the point of being drained of any emotion. Before passing judgement though, it is important to understand his aims and understanding of film making. Bresson believed that the theatrical performing of actors had no place in cinema, and so typically cast non-actors for his films. The reason for his desire to suppress performing, was to avoid the melodramatic histrionics common with conventional acting as he believed it shortchanges the complexities of human emotion that in real life are much more subtle and not always on the surface. A large part of who we are he believed, is determined by experience, circumstance and environment. These elements affect the way we 'perform' and obscure who we are at the core essence of our being. Bresson was much more concerned with this person, whom we are when all our affectations are removed and we are laid bare. In Diary of a Country Priest, Bresson had Claude Laydu repeat scenes many times in order so that he would rid himself of all natural desire to perform. This suppressed emotion re-introduces the intricately nuanced expression, replacing the scenes with a delicate and contemplative lilt. Like Ozu, another master of character expression and portrayal, Bresson proves that by adopting this method in conjunction with his wonderful compositions, it forces the viewer to replace the lack of gratuitous emotion with their own feelings, resulting in moments of genuine pathos and emotion.


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