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Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971)

Quatre nuits d'un rêveur (original title)
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 »


Robert Bresson


Robert Bresson, Fyodor Dostoevsky (short story "White Nights")
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Isabelle Weingarten Isabelle Weingarten ... Marthe
Guillaume des Forêts Guillaume des Forêts ... Jacques
Jean-Maurice Monnoyer Jean-Maurice Monnoyer ... Marthe's Lover
Giorgio Maulini Giorgio Maulini ... Locksmith
Lidia Biondi Lidia Biondi ... Marthe's Mother
Patrick Jouané Patrick Jouané ... Gangster


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 night. Gradually, he discovers that her lover promised to meet her on the bridge that night, and he failed to turn up. Over the next couple of nights, Jacques falls in love with her - but on the fourth night her original lover returns... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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France | Italy



Release Date:

2 February 1972 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Four Nights of a Dreamer See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Marthe: What's the matter?
Jacques: I love you. That's the matter.
See more »


Version of White Nights (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Have you heard about the lonesome loser? Beaten by the Queen of Hearts every time.
21 February 2000 | by nunculusSee all my reviews

An art-school kid meets a sad-faced girl on the Pont-Neuf; she's about to leap. It seems her beau left for Yale, swore he'd meet her one year later to the day--and he's blown her off. Love ensues between the couple on the bridge; Joe Yalie fails to make his appointment; and all seems to be heavenly for the two young lovebirds. Until, of course, days later, Joe Yalie comes a-callin'...

The relationship between a painter's self-torturing love life and his efflorescent work life was explored with a riotous, blasting, punk-rock yet p**s-elegant glee by Martin Scorsese and company in the short film LIFE LESSONS. Bresson's version of a similar tale is, to put it lightly, less communicative. Late Bresson--from THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC on--puts a premium on mum's-the-word. But in a late, underappreciated masterpiece, UNE FEMME DOUCE, Bresson's deliberate muteness worked: this adaptation of a Dostoevsky story about a blinkered husband decrypting his wife's suicide prods at the question "What do women want?" with comic and sensuous tactics unseen elsewhere in Bresson. And the emphasis on the unreadable--made literal in Bresson's concentration on shoulders, hands, backs of heads--fit the material like a glove.

The Dostoevsky source material for FOUR NIGHTS OF A DREAMER is simpler stuff. And more psychological stuff, too--which, mated with Bresson's deliberately dime-store-Indian, anti-acting style, makes for incoherence. You can't make out just exactly what Bresson thinks this movie is about, except a touching, and not altogether lecherous, affection for Today's Youth. It has freaky asides, like his other unhinged youth movie THE DEVIL PROBABLY: an art student pontificates on his moral agenda for painting in a bowlegged scene that suggests Bresson standing up in the movie theatre and reading from a tract. It has bits of rock music performed live that take you back to the with-it-ness of Otto Preminger's SKIDOO. And it has the hero's weird, unfinished, Pop Art-meets-Matisse paintings, everywhere. And it ends with a sadder-but-wiser shrug.

You get the feeling Bresson's heart and soul slammed painfully into every frame of this movie. It's also inscrutable and not absorbing in the least. Is this the fate of all master directors who make it to a ripe old age--they keep their chops, but they simply have no more stories they're impassioned to tell?

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