Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson : A Passion for Film

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The films of the late French filmmaker Robert Bresson, once thought formidable both because of the somberness of their subject matter and the austerity of the filmmaker's style, have in the last decade found a new audience. In part, this is owing to the rarely acknowledged but profound influence his style has had on later filmmakers-from Chantal Akerman to Michael Haeneke. This book looks at Bresson's body of work not only by coming to terms with its thematic preoccupations and the development of its unique authorial style, but also in terms of the ouvre's seminal place in the history of film. The filmic rhetoric that Bresson pursued was nothing less than an effort to create an exemplary form of film narrative, throwing off the conventions of the theater and acting that still dominate mainstream filmmaking. In this respect, Bresson's films are no less ground-breaking than those of D.W. Griffith and Sergei Eisenstein. In addition, while few who have written about Bresson would deny the highly personal and idiosyncratic nature of his work, its autobiographical dimension has never been fully explored.
This constitutes a rich vein for investigation and the films-in both their subject matter and style-mirror and trace the aesthetic and psychological dispositions of the filmmaker. What one discovers in these explorations is a deeper relationship between the filmmaker and his literary models-especially the novelists Georges Bernanos and Fyodor Dostoevsky. With both, he also shares convictions about the "fallennature of humanity, an attitude of mourning for the loss of childhood innocence, a strong preoccupation with Christian theology, and the role evil and sexuality play in our lives. In this book Bresson's sources, style, and biography are explored via a chronological investigation of his films, yielding a dense analysis worthy of this master filmmaker.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 407 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 657.71g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 96 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195319796
  • 9780195319798
  • 594,043

Review quote

This is by some way the longest and most detailed English-language monograph on Bresson's work * French Studies *
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About Tony Pipolo

Tony Pipolo is Professor Emeritus of Film and Literature at Queens College of the City University of New York. He writes regularly for Cineaste and Film Comment.
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Table of contents

INTRODUCTION ; 1. Rules of the Game (Les Anges du peche and Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne) ; 2. Author, Author (Journal d'un cure de campagne) ; 3. Triumphs of the Will (Un condamne a mort s'est echappe and Pickpocket) ; 4. The Young Virgins of the Provinces: I (Proces de Jeanne d'Arc) ; 5. The Middle of the Road (Au hasard Balthazar) ; 6. The Young Virgins of the Provinces: II (Mouchette) ; 7. Dostoevsky in Paris (Une femme douce and Quatre Nuits d'un reveur) ; 8. The Ultimate Geste (Lancelot du Lac) ; 9. Angels and Demons (Le Diable Probablement and L'Argent) ; EPILOGUE ; INDEX
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Rating details

22 ratings
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