films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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Au Hasard Balthazar

1966 / 95m - France
Au Hasard Balthazar poster

A typical Bresson. His cold, dry and wooden minimalism isn't really my cup of tea, the most amusing thing about Au Hasard Balthazar is watching Bresson struggle with his animal, a donkey who isn't susceptible to his directing tactics and is hell-bent on becoming the most natural and humane character in his entire oeuvre. Spoiler alert: I think he succeeded.

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The donkey is the focus of the film, as he is passed around and ends up in all kinds of different predicaments. Most people mistreat the animal, but at least they're consistent in mistreating other people too. Bresson's vision of the French countryside is grim and misanthropic, which explains the stark black and white cinematography, stripping the film from whatever summery vibe the outside scenes offered him.

There's a lot of symbolism, referencing Christianity and society, but I didn't get the impression Bresson had anything valuable to say with it. The style of acting in his film is absolutely atrocious, the stuttery editing didn't really help either. Still, this is one of the better Bresson's I've seen so far, even though that doesn't say much.


1959 / 76m - France
Crime, Drama
Pickpocket poster

A Man Escaped

Un Condamné à Mort S'est Échappé ou Le Vent Souffle Où Il Veut
1956 / 101m - France
Drama, Thriller, War
A Man Escaped poster

Diary of a Country Priest

Journal d'un Curé de Campagne
1951 / 115m - France
Diary of a Country Priest poster

Previous experiences with Bresson and a title promising two hours of inner monologues of a countryside priest didn't really wet my appetite, the film was pretty much what I expected from it. I'm not a big fan of Bresson's take on minimalism, the themes and characters also didn't speak to me. At all.

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A young priest is given a small parish in the north of France. When he arrives there, people don't seem too interested in his work and attempts to reach out to the community are mostly in vain. The priest becomes disillusioned and slowly starts to doubt his faith in God and humankind.

The soundtrack is light, the cinematography rather basic. The film is mostly just the priest talking to people from the village, and writing down his doubts in his diary. Struggles with faith rarely interest me though and the endless musings of a rather uninteresting characters aren't my favorite way of spending two hours. Bresson and I don't really go well together it seems.