Monday, May 21, 2012

Diary of a Country Priest

Judging by what I had seen in Pickpocket and what I had read about him, Robert Bresson definitely wanted to differ himself from his contemporaries. He rarely used professional actors. Many of his titles lack the emotional connection many other films of the era clearly possessed. And yet, he's dubbed an essential director.

His film Diary of a Country Priest contained the very trademarks that immortalized Bresson, as well as the profound theme of religion. (Bresson was a deeply devoted Catholic.) The blending of these themes provide an interesting tale.

This is of the first films that focused on conflict in religion, and one wonders if many later films of the same subject had Diary of a Country Priest as a primary influence. Bresson makes it clear that the protagonist (we never find out his name) struggles to break free from his spiritual alienation, and as far from the dramatics as possible.

Though I couldn't help but notice the dryness of some of the film. It starts off strong, but then slips into slow territory. Fortunately, it doesn't last for very long. I have a feeling that it will be less noticeable on a re-watch.

Diary of a Country Priest is very good, though I didn't love it as much as Pickpocket. The way it flows captures the Bresson mood, which is also evident in the films that he influenced. Still, I might like more upon a re-watch.

My Rating: ****1/2

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