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Download PDF by Bert Cardullo: Bresson and Others: Spiritual Style in the Cinema

By Bert Cardullo

A few 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 an inclination that had early been dominant in Bresson feedback in France: the try out, made by way of such Catholic writers as André Bazin, Henri Agel, Roger Leenhardt, and Amédée Ayfre, to appreciate Bresson's paintings in spiritual phrases, seeing his digital camera as one of those god and the fabric global as (paradoxically) a specific thing of the spirit. That test, in Sontag’s essay, ended in the advent of Bresson to the recent 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 impact of the French director’s serious, reductivist type. Jean-Luc Godard, after all, wanted no such severe advent to Robert Bresson, for, in his iconoclasm and integrity, in his rejection of the Gallic “Cinéma du Papa” in addition to in his embody of movie as an self sufficient artwork, 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 used to be 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 motivated a slew of latest 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: non secular Syle within the Cinema is an try and record this impact via essays on fifteen overseas administrators who in Bresson's wake, who actually can have motivated 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 way of an advent to the cinema of Robert Bresson and by way of movie credit, a bibliography of feedback, and an index. the topic of Bresson and Others, then, could in particular be Bressonian cinema, yet, in a common feel, it may possibly even be acknowledged to be spirit and matter--or movie and religion.

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EARLY BERGMAN, OR FILM AND FAITH: WINTER LIGHT REVISITED We live in a secular, narcissistic, even hedonistic age. Is there anyone out there who still doubts this? If you do, have a look at a film made by Ingmar Bergman over forty-five years ago—Winter Light (1962)—and you’ll see what I mean. This is not to say that something like Winter Light couldn’t be made now. We’re dealing here with the rule and not the exception, the middle, not the extremities. Obviously, none of this is intended to denigrate Bergman’s film as a mediocrity, or a priori to privilege contemporary films over it.

Her drama lies far beyond any psychological nomenclature, and her face outlines only a certain property of suffering, as it did in Rossellini’s earlier Stromboli (1949) and his subsequent Voyage to Italy (1953). Europe ’51 gives ample indication that such a human presence as Bergman’s, in such a cinematographic mise en scène, calls for the most sophisticated stylization possible. A film like this is the opposite of a realistic one “drawn from life”: it is the equivalent of austere and terse writing, which is so stripped of ornament that it sometimes verges on the ascetic.

So convincing is Quinn that the tears Zampanò sheds for the first time in his sorry life, on the beach that Gelsomina loved, made me connect their salt with the salt of the eternal sea—which seems, behind him, to be relieving its own anguish at the never-ending sufferings of man and beast. Giulietta Masina, for her part, is infinitely enchanting in the first starring role given to her by Fellini (her husband). A mime in the tradition of Barrault, Marceau, and Chaplin, she uses her miming skills here far more than language—which, after all, in so visual a medium as film can sometimes mediate between us and our affective response to character—to create the childlike character of Gelsomina.

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