Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Handwritten Bresson

[“As I am too sad to return to this house since my daughter’s death and have failed to sell the farms, why not farm the land yourself using modern techniques, as you once said you’d like to.”]

[Arnold who? The film gives him no last name, and I cannot make it out here.]

Au hasard Balthazar (1966) is another Robert Bresson film with handwriting. Balthazar is a donkey who suffers indignities and outright cruelty with immense dignity.

Other Bresson posts
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne
Diary of a Country Priest
A Man Escaped

[My Harrap’s gives “at random” and “haphazardly” for au hasard. here. Click on either image for a larger view.]

comments: 2

Marzek said...

Wonderful to read that you saw Au hasard Bathasar; I've read your earlier Bresson posts and thought I shd point it out. The ending is transcendent. (Mouchette's another fine film. The trailer was edited by Godard, who asked if he could do it. [Directorial non-control of trailers; that's a subject for wondering about: how many good ones have you seen, and how many utterly misleading ones?]). Une femme douce is, as usual, austere and brilliant; his first color film, though it may not be on DVD. And in 1983 Bresson made L'argent and was done with cinema.
A good number of literary adaptations: two from Georges Bernanos, plus films from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
His book, Notes on the Cinematgrapher, appears in at least one Godard movie; English edition was published by Green Integer a few years ago. I find it an indispensable work on art -- any art -- period. Some excerpts here:

Truly one of the greats, but sadly a filmmaker that more people respect than love. And a filmmaker so singular that he has no small shortage of admirers, but I can't think of any filmmaker who's clearly influenced by him. (He's maybe like Ozu* in that way; two of the purest filmmakers I can think of. Ozu's rigorous, but has warmth, -- just watch the performances by his favorites, Setsuko Hara and Chishu Ryu. Imagining cinema as an art form w/o Bresson and Ozu is like imagining painting w/o Vermeer and... Velasquez? [Sorry, just winging it]).

* Hou Hsiao-Hsien made a lovely homage to Ozu for the centenary of his birth, Café Lumiére.

Apologies for the essay -- you hit a nerve. A very good nerve!

Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for sharing all that here — I’m grateful, and I hope other readers are as well.

Next in our queue is Mouchette.