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Archive for August 22nd, 2012

© 2012 by James Clark

In trying to convey the special contributions inherent in the films of Robert Bresson, there emerges, to complicate matters enormously, the question of actually being able to see them. Apart from once-a-decade retrospectives in select venues few and far between, and DVD’s of the few titles (Mouchette, Balthazar…) having been lifted by media frequency into the pantheon of “classics,” a large percentage of this small to begin with output has been rushed into very early obsolescence. Bresson deals with subject matter most people are determined to live without; and, moreover, his methods of treating that matter are so low-key, that the effort seems to be in love with marketing catastrophe, a characteristic those in the business of selling films would be quick to act upon.

We have, however, a way of offsetting this prescription for becoming an Unknown Soldier, a way nicely prepared by Bresson himself. There is a subtext of these narratives—so witty and thrilling as to be enjoyed in reportage irrespective of the widely terrifying and thereby repellent main disclosures. Bresson has set the table for a discursive foretaste blithely detached from actual screening, one of many heresies he delighted in. Notwithstanding failing mass—or even niche—appeal and paralytic distribution, there is, in a film like Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971), so much sleight of hand going on as to form the content of a sort of magic show, or, if you like, gossip column. Perhaps if the gossip is tasty enough, one or two readers may actually pull themselves together and go on the lookout for experiencing a film that otherwise might not have seemed to hold rewards. (Contributing to the buzz here, I should add that the Coen Brothers’ dark comedy, The Big Lebowski, is all over the efforts of Four Nights of a Dreamer, as we shall see two weeks from now.) (more…)

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How Bullets Over Broadway made the Top 100:

Marilyn Ferdinand    No. 8

Pedro Silva   No. 26

Bobby McCartney  No. 40

John Greco   No. 43

David Schleicher  No. 55

Tony d’Ambra   No. 60

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