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Robert Bresson

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Robert Bresson (September 25, 1901December 18, 1999) was a French film director and master of minimalism.

Introduction

What is most striking about the cinema of Bresson is the apparent lack of acting. Bresson believed that there was a convention in movies regarding what the spectactor should feel or think, puncuated by music, editing and acting; and that by reducing these techniques or codes to a minimum, he could achieve greater emotional responses from the audience. Instead of having an actor's expression telling the spectator how to feel, the spectator him or herself would be able to simply feel, given the context. Bresson reportedly hired non-actors and shot scenes over and over until they were completely devoided of acting, and the actors would simply say their lines and perform physical actions. The emotional response is often more realistic than usually experienced in cinema.

Biography

Initially a painter and photographer, Bresson made his first short film, Les affaires publiques (Public Affairs) in 1934. During World War II, he spent over a year in a prisoner-of-war camp.

In 1943, Bresson made his first feature, Les Anges du péché (Angels of Sin), based on Denis Diderot's Jacques Le Fataliste. His next project, Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945), (Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne) was based upon the work of Denis Diderot.

Bresson's best-known films, Journal d'un curé de campagne (1953) (Diary of a Country Priest) and L'Argent (1983) (Money) are famous for their austere style and their bleak, existential view of life.

In 1976, Bresson published Notes sur le Cinématographe, in which he argued that cinematography is the higher function of cinema: whereas a movie is in essence "only" filmed theatre, cinematography is an attempt to create a new language of moving images and sounds via montage.

Filmography (as director)

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