18 Great Directors: Robert Bresson

“Painting taught me to make not beautiful images but necessary ones.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Au Hasard Balthasar.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Au Hasard Balthasar.

What Did I Watch: Angels of Sin and Los Dames du Bois de Boulogne.

Where Does He Fit: Angels of Sin feels surprisingly influenced by Renoir, who was probably the primary influence for anyone living in France during the early 40s. Still, this feels like a minor Renoir that happens to take place in a convent, with the nuns just lolling around and having crises related to their faith and relationships with each other. It’s paper thin, and the director would later disown it, but it definitely seems like his themes are beginning to germinate in ways that will blossom. The lack of affect is coming very soon, and it will be devastating.


Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne is the real Bresson debut, with a script by Cocteau, and their two styles meld in a way that leads to something pulpy being rendered more stately (in a good way). Words are the priority here rather than pictures, and Maria Casares uses them like a weapon to ensure that her breakup gives her some satisfaction, and damn anyone who gets in her way. Somewhere between Cocteau’s floridness and Bresson’s icy nature is the stares that these characters exchange, loaded with genuine passion since they were real actors and not the models that Bresson favored.


Most Valuable Asset: Models and minimalism.
Most Excited For: Mouchette.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Seems likely.

Coming Up Next: Fellow minimalist Carl Th. Dreyer.


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