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1951, Rialto Pictures, 115 min, France, Dir: Robert Bresson

Long considered a summit of world cinema, Bresson’s adaptation of George Bernanos’ renowned novel - about a young priest whose attempts to assuage the suffering of the people in his village are met with malice and indifference - established the austere style for which Bresson subsequently became famous. Claude Laydu, his downcast visage among the gallery of indelible faces in Bresson’s ouevre, brings a wounding soulfulness to his role as the ill-fated priest. “Still the screen’s most devastating account of the arduous ascent to sainthood, it achieves a lacerating honesty.” - Tom Milne. In French with English subtitles.

1977, Olive Films/Film Desk, 95 min, France, Dir: Robert Bresson

The most controversial film of Bresson’s career, LE DIABLE PROBABLEMENT was off-limits to viewers under the age of 18 in France as an incitement to suicide. A film that caused Rainer Werner Fassbinder to threaten to walk off the Berlin Film Festival jury if his support for it was not made public, it traces the last six months in the life of a young Parisian in search of his own demise, who rejects the conventional solutions offered by politics and religion, saying “My sickness is that I see clearly.” In French with English subtitles.

1959, Janus Films, 75 min, France, Dir: Robert Bresson

Loosely based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Bresson’s terse, intense portrait of a compulsive pickpocket (Martin LaSalle) who believes himself above the moral constraints of common humanity turns the act of thievery into a ritual at once erotic and aesthetic. The “ballets of thievery,” as Jean Cocteau called them, are stunningly choreographed and edited. In French with English subtitles.

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