Rightwing Film Geek

The Reel Presence

bresson.jpgA fine generalist article about the life and ouevre of the French Catholic director Robert Bresson is available here from National Catholic Reporter (thanks Amy).

Have to confess though, that Bresson really is not my cup of tea (when it comes to boring/harrowing European religious movies, give me the Scandinavians — Carl-Theodor Dreyer, Lars Von Trier, and Ingmar Bergman — every time).

Among Bresson’s Jansenist-influenced films, only A MAN ESCAPED really sent me, and that’s because it seemed like the only time Bresson’s quiet, deliberately inexpressive and unpsychological style fit the subject matter. The central character *has* to keep his thoughts to himself in order not to blow his cover for the only thing that matters — escape. The retrospective voiceover narration becomes both necessary and thrilling — cuing us in to what he’s thinking and why, so ESCAPED is not so obscure and arbitrary as much of Bresson’s body of work (I defy anyone to tell me the logic of why anything in L’ARGENT happened as it did). Still, I recognize that my opinion of Bresson is a distinct minority view among familiar enough with him to have an opinion.
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blake.jpgA priest has an interesting-sounding book (thanks Kathy) about the influence of Catholicism on the works of six important Anglo-American filmmakers, all of them at least cradle Catholics — Frank Capra, Francis Coppola, Brian De Palma, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese.

It’s not exactly the first time this will have been noted for any of the named directors, but having a theologically-literate priest (named Richard A. Blake, SJ) write such a book could give a new view to these works. I’m already intrigued by the article’s paragraph on THE CONVERSATION. Called “AfterImage: The Indelible Catholic Imagination of Six American Filmmakers,” it uses the metaphor of the “afterimage,” meaning the imprint left even after after the original is gone. Or as the Jesuits (of which the author is one) put it: Give me the child until he is 7, and I will give you the man.

November 16, 2003 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. “Let is be the feelings that bring about events, not the other way.” (Robert Bresson)

    the embalming silent kiss of image, sound and word

    Comment by graycassettetape | May 29, 2008 | Reply


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