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Archive for January 23rd, 2013

a-man-escaped-1

© 2013 by James Clark

For a filmmaker whom virtually no one knows nowadays, nor cares to know, Robert Bresson elicits remarkable agitation in print. His elegant cinematography does, of course, gain the respect of those for whom such elegance matters; but that cannot account for the worshipful tributes sent his way. As with Heidegger, the welter of theological cues emanating from his work assures an ardent and erudite quorum sensing that work’s importance in general but slipping over the matter of the specifics of the accomplishment. Moreover, though Bresson produced very few films, those that did surface unfailingly brought into play protagonists fascinating (albeit sometimes creepily) in the dire straits to which they were exposed. With the exception of Balthazar and Mouchette (representing a period of reflection upon innocents in a world of vicious corruption), the figures to the fore exhibit self-imposed enslavement to, if not unviable, alarmingly unbalanced courses of action. Hosannas, therefore, directed toward the eponymous hero of A Man Escaped (1956)—accounting for a goodly percentage of the raptures brought forth to burnish an obscure career—have to be unplugged in any appreciation of that truly magnificent (but far from simplistic) film, very much, as it happens, in the vein of fathoming protagonistic imbalance. (more…)

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