Review, Robert Bresson: Diary of a Country Priest

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This is actually his first film, he does use professional actors. in his latter films he did not use real actors bur ordinary people who were not acting. Bresson was not in tune with the new wave of film French ne wave was open, experimental, allowing what happens to happen. Bresson was tight, controlled slavish attention to the script. He was not old fashioned in not being new wave, he was just in tune with his own conception of film.

The actor in the lead role, was an accomplished actor.

The young priest moves to the sticks to start his first parish duties. He is overseen by an older Priest who treats the job like a civil service appointment and puts him wise to all the angles in the war with the parishoners, seems to have understanding of why anyone would be a priest  and seems totally non-understanding. He doesn't have a clue as to the motives of the young idealistic priest.

The young priest is highly romantic, channels all his romance into Catholic style devotions and bears a genuine and honest desire to know God and to guide other on the path of knowing God. He makes huge sacrifices no one understands. He goes far out of his way to make sure that various charges in his care accept God in their hearts and truly seek forgiveness and really feel it. All of this is totally ms-interpreted by the village. He has "a sensitive stomach" and hardly eats any food, drinks wife with bread and sugar all the time to stave off hunger and because he stomach can't handle real food. So the town thinks he's a drunk.

He seeks the reconciliation of an older woman with God in heart, since she is embittered by the death of her son form which she blames God. He spends lots of time alone with her trying to get her to forgive God. She does forgive God then dies right after that. Her husband blames the priest just as she had blamed God. The Village concludes that the priest was her lover, after all he is a drunk.  No one understands him, he's totally alone. Those are the good times, just before things go down hill!

These are both excellent movies. As I say watching is like eating spinach, no car crashes no explosions.


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