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By Bert Cardullo

A couple of writers have tried to trap Robert Bresson’s variety in addition to his substance with such phrases as “minimalist,” “austere,” "ascetic," “elliptical,” “autonomous,” “pure,” even “gentle." such a lot famously, Paul Schrader as soon as referred to as Bresson’s motion pictures “transcendental,” whereas Susan Sontag defined them as “spiritual.” either those critics therefore prolonged in anglicized shape a bent that had early been dominant in Bresson feedback in France: the test, made through such Catholic writers as André Bazin, Henri Agel, Roger Leenhardt, and Amédée Ayfre, to appreciate Bresson's paintings in non secular phrases, seeing his digicam as a type of god and the fabric international as (paradoxically) a specific thing of the spirit. That try out, in Sontag’s essay, ended in the creation of Bresson to the hot York-based avant-garde of the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, whose films—such as Richard Serra’s Hand Catching Lead (1968), for one—show the effect of the French director’s critical, reductivist variety. Jean-Luc Godard, in fact, wanted no such serious advent to Robert Bresson, for, in his iconoclasm and integrity, in his rejection of the Gallic “Cinéma du Papa” in addition to in his include of movie as an autonomous paintings, Bresson was once one of many heroes of the younger administrators who constituted the French New Wave within the early Nineteen Sixties. loads in order that Godard was once moved to assert in Cahiers du cinéma in 1957 that “Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoyevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music."

The result's that Bresson has undeniably encouraged a slew of up to date eu filmmakers, together with Chantal Akerman, Olivier Assayas, Laurent Cantet, Alain Cavalier, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Claire Denis, Jacques Doillon, Bruno Dumont, Michael Haneke, Benoît Jacquot, and Maurice Pialat--not to talk of his impression on Asian and American cinema. Bresson and Others: religious Syle within the Cinema is an try to record this impact via essays on fifteen foreign administrators who in Bresson's wake, who in reality can have inspired him (Carl Dreyer), or who contemporaneously labored veins just like these present in Bresson's movies (Ingmar Bergman, Yasujiro Ozu). those essays are preceded by means of an creation to the cinema of Robert Bresson and by means of movie credit, a bibliography of feedback, and an index. the topic of Bresson and Others, then, may well particularly be Bressonian cinema, yet, in a basic feel, it might even be stated to be spirit and matter--or movie and religion.

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Other good directors often work otherwise. With Ozu, however, the result is not mechanical execution of a blueprint but the fulfillment of aesthetic design. In his own right Chishu Ryu has an extraordinary place in Ozu’s oeuvre. He became, one could say, the vicar on screen for Ozu. According to some critics, this is true in some of the earlier films in the strictly biographical sense; and it continued, in the later films, in the psychological and spiritual sense. Those who know all the available films have said that the so-called Ozu feeling would have been impossible without the actor who played what became known as the Ozu role.

And I think it would be appropriate briefly to discuss this underrated film, since it has several points of intersection with other films adopting a spiritual style. The first is the crossroads known as death: a woman is taken unawares by death in Europe ’51, only to find her spiritual center as a result. The second point of intersection is children, for the death of a child incites the psychological transformation along with the moral quest of the heroine in Rossellini’s film. The final point of intersection more or less subsumes the second one: the cinematic style known as neorealism.

Yet, while their relationship is innocent, it is also complex and sophisticated; she enjoys teasing him and even playing the coquette, while they are both driven on occasion to the doubts and jealousies of conventional lovers. But what these two mean to each other far transcends any conventional love story— or any sentimental fable of an attachment between two lost souls. In their direct and childlike love there is bodied forth the agony of loneliness, of loneness, and the need to overcome it that attaches to us all.

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