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Austere Perfectionism: The Films of Robert Bresson

Sunday, February 5, 2012
4:00 p.m. Les anges du péché
Robert Bresson (France, 1943)

New 35mm Print!

(Angels of Sin). Bresson's visual elegance and uncompromising narrative style are already in evidence in his first feature film, lending calm to its passionate religious ambiguities. The script, written by France's distinguished playwright and novelist Jean Giraudoux, follows a sophisticated young woman, Anne-Marie, into the closed world of a convent devoted to the rehabilitation of delinquent girls. At odds with the Mother Superior, she becomes attached to a rebellious girl, Thérèse, whose indifference to her ministrations drives concern into an obsession. Anne-Marie herself becomes "delinquent"; her personal regeneration progresses in parallel fashion to the girl's rehabilitation. The patiently evoked details of convent life present ritual, discipline, and sometimes ruthlessness as the norm, not as eccentricity as in a film such as Pickpocket. And if the camera's eye is rarely idle, Bresson said, "The knots which are tied and untied inside the characters give the film its movement, its real movement

We regret to announce that Les Affaires Publiques (Robert Bresson, France, 1934), originally scheduled for this program, is unavailable for the Robert Bresson touring retrospective.

• Written by Jean Giraudoux, R. P. Raymond, Leopold Bruckberger, Bresson. Photographed by Philippe Agostini. With Renée Faure, Jany Holt, Louise Sylvie. (96 mins, In French with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From Institut Français)