Director – Robert Bresson – 1959 – France – Cert. PG – 76m
Why is a man compelled to pursue acts of petty thievery – acclaimed, arresting, existential drama is out in cinemas on Friday, June 3rd
I have just rewatched Bresson’s classic and am still not entirely sure I have its measure. Perhaps that’s the thing about great works of art. Oh, to have seen it on its original release, had I been old enough, and watch it without the baggage of it being proclaimed a cinematic masterwork.
Words on the screen proclaim at the outset that this is not the thriller its title might suggest; it’s rather a study of a man who repeatedly commits crimes which is trying to understand why he would do that.
The characters, of whom the main protagonist Michel (Martin LaSalle) is the one who gets most screen time and indeed, is scarcely if ever off the scree, are played deadpan, with Bresson doing his utmost to ensure that his cast perform the roles without acting. He doesn’t want the actors’ craft to come between us and his images of people doing, being, talking. He seeks to avoid the artificiality of acting thereby allowing his performers to realise his images without any acting technique mediating them.… Read the rest