This unique love story, based on a novelette by Denis Diderot and with dialogue written by Jean Cocteau, follows the maneuverings of a society lady as she connives to initiate a scandalous affair between her aristocratic ex-lover and a prostitute. With his second feature film, director Robert Bresson was already forging his singularly brilliant filmmaking technique as he created a moving study of the power of revenge and the strength of true love. —The Criterion Collection
Often described as a “painter” of films, French director Robert Bresson was one of cinema’s greatest anomalies. He directed only 13 films over the course of 40 years, but these films were in a category all their own, minimalist works that tended towards radical (and sometimes controversial) reinterpretations of such classical sources as Diderot, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy. An expert manipulator of narrative incident, Bresson focused on seemingly incidental details of the stories he told and used amateur actors (whom he called ‘models’) lacking any trace of theatricality, creating searching meditations on the quality of transcendence, spirituality, and alienation. Of the artistic influences inherent in his work – perhaps most apparent in his belief that the cinema is a fusion of music and painting, not the theatre and photography – Bresson once said “Art is not a luxury, but a vital necessity.”
The year of Bresson’s birth has often been subject to debate; his biographer, Philippe… read more
It is a gem about confidence in life and in emotional ties. Bresson is marked by the thought of the writer Georges Bernanos, great anatomist of the soul and expert in our vain nature, deceitful and, therefore, desperate. Thing for mature people, now rare in this world ruled by childish adults.
A society woman expends great time, energy, and wealth destroying her former lover's life by compelling him to fall in love with and marry a former prostitute. So.... the results of all of her expenses and conniving and cold calculated vengeance is that two lovers meet and have an awkward wedding. But it's a society life and like, marrying a prostitute is carries a stigma and shit. --PolarisDiB
Beware the wrath of a woman scorned... Casares is chilling in Bresson's second film as she seeks revenge on her lover when he confesses that his infatuation with her has ended. Dialogue writer Cocteau was so impressed with her performance that he went on to cast her as Death in Orpheus five years later. As for Bresson, this was his last film with professional actors before his style became more austere and personal..
A look at the second, revised edition of James Quandt’s crucial anthology, Robert Bresson.
The complete retrospective will carry on touring North America through May.
Introducing a new series of essays on the “tightly-packed excess” of Robert Bresson.
A look at the best posters for the films of Robert Bresson, to coincide with the Film Forum retrospective.
Robert Bresson’s second feature film, Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne, was for me at once both greater and lesser than his more celebrated (and less conventional) films. Made in 1945, it was the last… read review
I love Maria Casares. In both of her most famous film performances. (She was a noted stage actress.) First, in this film and later, in ORPHEUS she simmers with rage, lust, dark thoughts. She must have… read review