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Records of Material Objects in the Cinema #10: A Band-Aid on Anne Wiazemsky’s Leg

An unexpected detail in Robert Bresson’s 1966 masterpiece, Au hasard Balthazar.

A band-aid on Anne Wiazemsky's leg in Robert Bresson's Au hasard Balthazar (1966); cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet.

Bresson, whose control of his films' visual field is nearly unparalleled—do we have a detail here lost in the mystery of "intentionality"? Did the young actress merely bandage her leg, a material object from real life transposed to the fiction of cinema? Or is this one of hundreds of unnoticed small decisions Bresson makes to center his images with trembling intensity? (Or is it "transcendental"?)

Is it Claire’s Knee?
I’d lean toward it not being a directorial choice. But I have to see the shot again and check it’s placement in the frame. Maybe it’s the missing link before Jarmusch and Tarantino’s creative use of the band-aid!
more accidental if you ask me, there are several shots of Marie walking barefoot in the farm, a thorn, a weed perhaps, but definitely not the transcendental soul sneaking bandaid from Pulp Fiction. Not many would have noticed that and the Black and White photography would take care of the rest, I am sure Bresson knew that too.
I’m curious if it is noticeable in the film’s scene rather than just a still from the film? Sometimes a shot like this may last a second or two – but as a frozen frame it seems so much more significant. David Bordwell once laid out a whole color theory about an Angelopolous film. When I went back to see the scene it passed by so quickly that it barely registered. But, clearly, he had seen it on an editing device [or DVD] and was able to watch the film frame by frame. Which essentially made it a different scene.

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