Sunday, October 27, 2019


A poacher confronts the title character
in Mouchette

(On Mouchette) "Robert Bresson has made several films of such sobriety that while some people find them awesomely beautiful, other people find sitting through the like taking a whipping and watching every stroke coming."-Pauline Kael,  5001 Nights at the Movies

And I understand both points of view stated above. When I first saw a Bresson film (Pickpocket) I kept thinking that I missed something. It took me awhile to adapt to Bresson's subtle form of cinema. He just will not tell a story in a conventional way! He also seems to skip important plot points, which have made me go back and see if there was a scene I missed (I did it for Mouchette and L'Argnet) more than once. I didn't miss a scene, it's just M. Bresson's way.

Mouchette is sort of a coming of age story of a teenage girl...if you can consider a coming of age story that will certainly end in tragedy a coming of age story. It is a pretty rich character study of this young girl and we see Mouchette awaken to adult experiences in subtle ways and in other ways not so subtle. I like this film, but it really helps to watch Bresson films more than once. (Which I did).

The title character gets passed around
in L'Argent

"Bresson films, which look and sound like no other filmmaker, alive or dead, are austere, limpid morality tales, photographed with almost scientific clarity...Bresson creates a kind of cinema in which characters are not seen but represented, as dramatically and effectively as they would be by actors wearing masks." -Vincent Canby, New York Times, October 2, 1983.

I honestly thought that L'Argent was going to be a heist film. Silly me, I forgot this was a Robert Bresson movie! What we see is how a counterfeit bill effects several people's lives in negative ways. At least several people initially. The ensemble nature of the film eventually breaks down into the study of a driver named Tyvon, who passes one of the bills off innocently enough and begins to lose everything. He loses his job, his wife, his daughter and eventually any sense of morality, leading to a horrific conclusion for everyone.

Is money the root of all evil? It certainly does make people do some pretty awful things. Bresson's last film and might be a good one to start with for those uninitiated with the director.

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