A masterpiece that would be the template for all of Bressons subsequent films, Diary of a Country Priest is characterized above all by a search for authenticity. The function of art, the filmmaker maintained, is to tie new relationships between persons and things which are, and as they are. How do you document a soul? As Bressons first film in the six years since Les dames du Bois de Boulogne, Diary was clearly influenced by Italian neorealismshot entirely on location with non-actors and a measure of social criticism. In his recent book on Bresson, Tony Pipolo suggests that the movies concluding durational shots were inspired by Rossellinis Open City and Paisan: It would be hard to find comparable use of the static long take until the mature work of Antonioni or the avant-garde cinema of the 1960s.
Few artists since the Renaissance have so convincingly wed the aesthetic to the spiritual. Diarys final shot makes its allegory absolutely apparent even as the priests last wordsAll is gracesuggest cinema itself is the holy sacrament.
Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, film info & more!