Posted by martinteller on March 16, 2014
My feelings about Bresson’s films change with each viewing… the only ones that haven’t changed are the ones I’ve seen only once (really need to rewatch those, especially Une femme douce). My scores/rankings don’t fluctuate wildly, but within the pack of 8 that I feel are really good but not as good as A Man Escaped, I keep shuffling them around. Case in point: Pickpocket used to be my #2, but now I’ve put it a notch below Mouchette and around the same level of Une femme douce and Au hasard Balthazar. All of this is a lot of miserably obsessive kerfuffle that doesn’t matter to anyone but me, but I’m not in the mood to do any real writing at the moment.
This movie does have a gripping fascination to it, but after listening again to Paul Schrader’s introduction, I don’t think the ending impacts me as much as it does him. He makes an excellent case for Bresson’s unusual cinematic technique and how he achieves this catharsis at the finale, but I don’t feel it myself. Not to the degree that I feel it in any of the other movies I’ve mentioned in this review. Then again, like I said, my feelings keep shifting. Next time it’s likely to be a different story. Which I think is a testament to Bresson’s magic… he makes his films so easy to project your own thoughts and emotions onto that every viewing is a different experience. And even if the movie did not resonate emotionally as strongly as it might have in the past, it’s still captivating in its attention to process and detail, its Raskolnikov-esque protagonist, its attention-grabbing use of sound and music, its basic thematic content.
This is shaping into a pretty shallow review but it’s getting late and really, once you’ve heard Schrader talk about it, you kind of feel like there’s nothing left to say. Jotting down these scant thoughts, however, has at least given me the inspiration to revisit all those Bressons I’ve only seen once. Who knows, maybe Lancelot du Lac will really click with me this time. Rating: Very Good (85)