by Allan Fish
(France 1956 102m) DVD1/2
Aka. Un Condamné a Mort s’est échappé
Two steel spoons
p Jean Thullier, Alain Poire d/w Robert Bresson articles André Devigny ph Léonce-Henry Burel ed Raymond Lamy m “Mass in C.Minor” by W.A.Mozart art Pierre Charbonnier
François Letterier (Lt.Fontaine), Charles le Clainche (François Jost), Roland Monod (De Leiris, the pastor), Maurice Beerblock (Blanchet), Jacques Ertaud (Orsini), Jean-Paul Delhumeau (Hebrard),
Forget all thoughts of The Captive Heart, Stalag 17 and The Great Escape, this is the greatest POW film (okay, maybe La Grande Illusion excepted). Yet there’s no internal camaraderie, no carols at Chrimbo, no tunnelling at night and emptying dirt through pockets in the morning, no informers and no friendly German guards. Bresson’s protagonist tries to escape not because it’s the soldier’s duty to attempt escape, but because he has to escape to survive. As a member of the captured Resistance, he’s effectively on death row.
Lieutenant Fontaine has been captured for sabotage work after blowing up a crucial bridge. Awaiting his sentence he is sent to a secure prison camp and given one of a row of solitary cells, only two by three metres in size. He only has brief contact with the other prisoners and concentrates every effort into attempting to escape while awaiting his inevitable death sentence, but comes to realise that he needs an accomplice to help him succeed. Who can he trust? (more…)