To say little of the film, I stumbled in right as the film was beginning, sneaking off a bit early from my volunteer shift at the museum. It struck me as somewhat punkish, exhausting edits giving a sense of rebellion. I drifted off for a solid 20 and awoke very sad, a post-shrooms haze that shifted my thoughts between the slow death of the film and personal dramas. I considered leaving. Think I will love this soon.
2.2 stars. It is perhaps unreasonable for me to give such a low score to a film so immaculately acted & staged. The fault here is not Bresson's, but that of Georges Bernanos. I passionately disagree with the film's life-denying theology. I fear that maybe Bresson is taking a critical stance that I'm missing (I hope so!) but it seems like a faithful adaptation of the novel's religious intent. (I am a Unitarian, obvs)
A powerful existential piece. Incredibly moving film that tosses between commitment to faith and apathy. Brought by physical pain and the death of his contemporaries torments a priest to question his belief. Alone, he feels he cannot turn to anyone besides God for Love. Yet, he is tortured by His silence.
An early iteration of Bresson's awkward-yet-luminous underdog martyrs, trodden on by a hypocritical & mercenary society - poor in spirit & substance. Finding their way, despite cruelty, despite the camera's imposed austerity, despite Bresson's relentless precision - to the Sublime, and transcendence. Leaving society to its shame... Bergman will riff on this one nicely (if less earnestly) later, in Winter Light.
I sincerely believe that love is what all religions are based on but over the centuries people have turned that pure love into a product or a thing, and destroyed the meaning of that love, where it comes from and its importance. The film is a lesson all of itself, never forces Christianity onto its audience but merely examines its pros and cons while striving to alleviate the fear of death.