This unique love story 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.
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One of Bresson's earliest works, it's sad, bittersweet, and a bit mean-spirited, but doesn't plumb the depths of despair as all his later works do. This one is tempered by the poetry of Jean Cocteau. 3.8 stars.
Assign a higher value to Cocteau dialogues is the same as considering that the narrative is better than the director's idiosyncratic look, which if it wasn't Bresson could be more interesting than actually is. A fictional overload, not always the most subtle one, is rescued at the end by a sublime ascencional shot, literally: it is from God's point of view that the redemption of love becomes Grace.
this is a bresson masterwork. like tarkovsky in 'ivan's childhood', the trademark style is not composed yet but many of the elements are present. the themes of obsession, domination, fate and spiritual transcendence are all promient here. the dialogue written by cocteau is superb too and carries the weight of the plot perfectly. this film has a heart, an emotion and a passion, and most importantly Robert Bresson.
Early Bresson! Though with a script by Jean Cocteau, it feels less like an austere Bresson masterwork and more like a lost Cocteau film: an expressive symbolic clash of fairy tale logic and modernity, with a vibe of fantasy (but not anything outright fantastical). Maria Casares is like an evil Cupid, orchestrating love and using it to hurt people. Even so, does anyone have a time machine and her phone number?
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
While certain themes are just as relevant today, such as that of revenge, the film doesn’t have the haunting philosophical moray — disambiguation — that helps Bresson’s other features attain an ever-lasting film presence....That said, on its own, it’s still an excellent film. Read More: http://aestheticsofthemind.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/les-dames-du-bois-de-bologne/
Robert Bresson taking on a Max Ophuls esque "almost" love story. A lyrical little melodrama, but for me being able to see evidence of Bressons slow aesthetic transition was much more interesting. Also It’s very difficult not to fall in love with Labourdette!