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Complete Bresson Retrospective to Tour North America

The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson is the first complete retrospective in North America in 14 years.
The DailyRobert Bresson (Revised)

The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson will be the first complete retrospective of Bresson's work in North America in 14 years. TIFF Cinematheque has announced today that the series "features a restored print of his acclaimed first feature Les Anges du péché (1943), a metaphysical thriller set in a convent, and new prints of key titles struck especially for the occasion of this retrospective such as the controversial Le Diable probablement (1977), which was prohibited to viewers under the age of eighteen in France as an incitement to suicide; A Man Escaped (1956), a work of resolute beauty that rigorously elevates the gruelling routines of prison life; Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971), legendary for being unavailable in North America for almost two decades; and his last masterpiece, L'Argent (1983), a terse and chilling indictment of capitalism and modernity."

While the retrospective will run at TIFF Bell Lightbox from February 9 through March 18, it'll actually kick off at Film Forum in New York on January 6. More stops and dates:

One of the occasions of the retrospective is the publication of an expanded and illustrated edition of series curator James Quandt's revered collection, Robert Bresson (Revised), featuring essays by Susan Sontag, André Bazin, P Adams Sitney, and Kristin Thompson. This new edition adds material from David Bordwell, Mark Rappaport, Shigehiko Hasumi, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Serge Daney, Jean-Michel Frodon, Colin Burnett, Richard Suchenski, Jean-Pierre Gorin and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

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Well that’s the best news ever
Shit. I might actually be able to see this!
International House Philadelphia will have a (non-complete) retrospective at some point in 2012 as well.
It is not quite a complete retrospective, at least at Film Forum; there will be no showing of Une Femme Douce. Sorry to rain on the parade.
You North Americans are some lucky fellows…
Dear Sir, I take exception to: “and his last masterpiece, L’Argent (1983), a terse and chilling indictment of capitalism and modernity.” Did you see the movie or did you take the word of other reviewers? I can tell you that I am a huge fan of Bresson, and that movie was not a masterpiece. It is badly acted and highly pedantic. It is a crime to mention A Man Escaped and L’Argent in the same sentence. If you like that type of film, may I suggest the works of Eric Rohmer, who doesn’t hit you on the head with a spatula.
Dear Billy, Having seen “L’argent” not once but three times, I can assure you that it is indeed a masterpiece. Also: “Did you see the movie or did you take the word of other reviewers?” A strange question, and one that needs to be analyzed more closely. First of all, yes, Billy, some people can seriously consider the film a masterpiece, and they can come to that conclusion of their own accord. In this case I would say it’s probably best to lean towards “he saw the movie,” considering there’s no evidence to the contrary (no, the fact that you didn’t like it isn’t evidence to the contrary) and considering that, regardless of your own feelings on the subject, there are actually quite a lot of people who are huge fans of Bresson and who consider “L’argent” a masterpiece (in other words, it’s not a particularly contrarian or unusual statement, nor is it as if someone proclaimed “Grease 2” a masterpiece.) You seem to have a misplaced sense of the film’s reputation which causes you to act with astonishment when someone calls the film a masterpiece – but, in reality, “L’argent” is fairly widely acknowledged as a very good or great film, and, yes, a masterpiece. Your own negative opinion is valid, but it doesn’t invalidate the other opinions either. But as for the form of your question itself: The implication seems to be that nobody who has actually seen it would call it a masterpiece – or, to put it another way, the only way you could think it is a masterpiece is if you haven’t seen it but are relying on the word of other reviewers. But then you have to ask yourself, why do those reviewers who have seen it consider it a masterpiece? In other words, you act shocked that someone would call the film a masterpiece, but then acknowledge that some people call the film a masterpiece – but those people calling it a masterpiece tend to be critics (in your experience), therefore, apparently, their opinions aren’t to be taken as seriously. In reality, the fact that some of those people calling the film a masterpiece are reviewers doesn’t really mean anything – reviewers aren’t some alien group that think differently than the rest of us. Rather they’re just film fans, who have their own opinions on things. That is to say, the fact that you’re a “huge fan of Bresson” and not a reviewer does not make your opinion more (or less) valid or objective or meaningful than the opinion of other “huge fans of Bresson” who do happen to be reviewers (see: Jonathan Rosenbaum, who thinks “L’argent” is a masterpiece.) In short, it’s best simply to acknowledge that some people do consider the film a masterpiece, and not act astonished when someone labels it such – regardless of how strong your own feelings may be on the subject. It’s not as if your statements posted here about the film are so compelling or irrefutable that every objective person must agree with them.

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