2 by Bresson: AU HASARD BALTHAZAR and DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST

Event Details

2 by Bresson: AU HASARD BALTHAZAR and DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST

Time: August 16, 2017 all day
Location: Film Forum
Street: 209 West Houston St.
City/Town: New York City
Website or Map: http://filmforum.org/film/au-…
Phone: 2127278110
Event Type: film
Organized By: Film Forum
Latest Activity: Aug 14

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Event Description

AU HASARD BALTHAZAR

Directed by Robert Bresson
Starring Anne Wiazemsky

(1966) A little donkey is suckled by its mother, then baptized “Balthazar;” a girl and boy say goodbye at the end of summer: a vision of paradise. Years pass and the now-teenaged Marie (Anne Wiazemsky, later Godard’s wife and star, and today a celebrated author) finds herself drifting into more and more destructive situations, including involvement with a local juvenile delinquent; while Balthazar moves from owner to owner, some kind, some cruel, some drunkenly careless. But as critic J. Hoberman pointed out, “this is the story of a donkey in somewhat the way that Moby D*** is about a whale.” God, as ever in the work of legendary filmmaker Bresson, is in the details: the elliptical editing, with its abrupt cuts, off-screen space, and as much focus on the hands of the non-pro cast as on their faces; sound design alternating between classical music and natural sounds; the accumulation of cruelties endured by Marie and Balthazar; and the religious symbolism, from baptism to martyrdom – with the silent Balthazar transformed into a patient, long-suffering saint (“the most sublime cinematic passage I know.” – Hoberman). In a body of work known for its purity and transcendence, Balthazar is perhaps the most wrenching of Bresson’s visions, voted 19 in the 2002 BFI Sight & Sound critics and filmmakers poll of all-time great films. 35mm. Approx. 95 min.
12:30, 4:50, 9:00

 

DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST

Directed by Robert Bresson
Starring Claude Laydu

(1951) Young curé Claude Laydu bicycles to his first parish in Ambricourt in northern France, where most of the people wear coats and scarves indoors, where he’s promised electricity in just a few months, where the schoolchildren play practical jokes on him, and he’s criticized for his austere diet of bread and heavily sugared wine (not for sacerdotal reasons, but for stomach troubles) – even as he finds it difficult to pray. His local colleague barks at him “A true priest is never loved,” the parent-hating daughter of the local Countess refuses confession, and the night after he begins to bring spiritual healing to the Countess herself… But even as he continues to sicken and to further doubt himself, he seems to grow in spiritual and moral authority. Robert Bresson’s adaptation of Georges Bernanos’ classic novel was his first film in six years and first post-war, and ushered in his mature style – extensive narration (Laydu is often seen inking into his diary the words on the track), carefully calibrated sound and music, extensive ellipses, stately pace, and determinedly low-key performances from a mainly non-pro cast (the debuting 23-year old Laydu had stage experience) – and marked his break-out onto the international scene, with three awards at Venice and international acclaim. Bresson scholar/Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader purportedly modeled Travis Bickle’s Spartan regimen on the priest’s own meager lifestyle. 35mm. Approx. 115 min.
2:35, 6:45

 

 

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