All roads lead to Robert Bresson in the world of French cinema. In his 50 years as a filmmaker, Bresson created some of cinema’s most lasting classics. Including seven of the top 250 films ever made, according to Sight and Sound. Bresson not only influenced generations of filmmakers in France and elsewhere. But he also develope a unique style that has been imitating but never matched. Bresson, along with auteurs such as Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Renoir, and Jean Cocteau, helped to establish France as a major player in international cinema. Also, he has influenced filmmakers such as Paul Schrader, David Lowery, and Christopher Nolan. Below are some of his Bresson’s influential films.
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1. Lancelot du Lac (1974)
Cast- Fabrice Luchini, Philippe Sarde, Luc Simon
The Arthurian tale is depicted through the eyes of Lancelot du Lac (Luc Simon. One of the most renowned Knights of the Round Table, in this stylised and unglamorous French drama by Robert Bresson. After returning from the Holy Grail quest empty-handed, Lancelot begins an affair with Queen Guinevere (Laura Duke Condominas), a relationship that threatens to have far-reaching ramifications for Camelot’s once-great court.
2. L’Argent (1983)
Cast- Christian Patey, Vincent Visterucci, Sylvie Van den Elsen
A man’s life is destroyed by a 500-franc note. A fake banknote is passed on to an unwary camera shop clerk by two young kids. The shopkeeper gives the letter to Yvon Targe, a fuel delivery man, despite the fact that he knows it’s worthless. Yvon needs to make up for the loss, so he resorts to crime. His wife Elise abandons him after he is sentenced to three years in prison for assisting others in a bank robbery. He is quickly placed in solitary confinement due to his poor behaviour. Yvon commits murder after his parole.
3. Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
Cast- Claude Laydu, Jean Riveyre, Nicole Ladmiral
In the remote French village of Ambricourt, an inexperienced, sickly priest (Claude Laydu) arrives up and joins the community’s clergy. The priest, however, is disliked by the townspeople, who regard him as an outcast because of his ascetic practises and unsociable personality. He is constantly insulted by his students during Bible study at a nearby girls’ school. Then his attempt to mediate a family quarrel backfires, resulting in a scandal. His failings, combined with his deteriorating health, cause him to lose faith.
4. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Cast- Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, Pierre Klossowski
Marie (Anne Wiazemsky), a sensitive farm girl, and her beloved donkey, Balthazar, are revealed to have a very profound bond in this insightful and interesting French drama. Though Marie and Balthazar grow apart as she grows older, the story follows both the young woman and the donkey as they face the challenges of life. Despite the fact that Marie and Balthazar are frequently subjected to abuse from the individuals they encounter, they also find brief moments of beauty.
5. A Man Escaped (1956)
Cast- François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock
1943, Lyon. Fontaine, a member of the French Resistance, is kidnapped by the Nazis and held hostage in a French prison, along with a slew of other men and women whom the Nazis accuse of plotting against them. None of them knows what will happen to them, despite the fact that they can hear firing squad executions from their prison cells. Fontaine discovers a way out of his cell without his captors knowing when he settles into the prison’s second cell. Fontaine decides that using that as a starting point and an iron spoon he keeps hidden as his only instrument, he will break free from the cage, which will require painstaking preparation and patience.
He intends to flee the prison once he is released. He has to pick who he can trust because he doesn’t know anyone in the prison before he arrives, and he will need the help of others along the road. When he learns of his sentence, a break in his routine occurs just when he thinks he has all the tools he needs to conduct a viable escape attempt. He’s forced to make quick judgments about whether or not to go ahead with his plan, and he’s compelled to take even more risks as a result.
6. Pickpocket (1959)
Cast- Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Pierre Laymarie
The despondent and lonely pickpocket in Paris Michel lives in a filthy room and spends his days stealing wallets and purses from people in public places. His only friends are Jacques, who attempts to assist him in his job search, and Jeanne, his mother’s next-door neighbour. After his mother’s death, Michel forms a gang with two small-time robbers, despite the local police inspector’s constant observation. Later, he flees overseas to escape the police’s scrutiny, but when he returns to Paris two years later, he finds Jeanne alone, her son with Jacques after a brief love affair. Michel resolves to assist her and find an honest career, but his addiction tempts him during a horse race, resulting in tragic consequences.
7. Mouchette (1967)
Cast- Nadine Nortier, Jean-Claude Gilbert, Jean Vimenet
Mouchette (Nadine Nortier), a young adolescent, has to deal with adversity on a daily basis in her challenging life. Her father (Paul Hébert) is a ruthless alcoholic who ignores her. In the meantime, her mother (Marie Cardinal) is unwell and dying. Mouchette comes finds Arsène (Jean-Claude Guilbert), a vicious poacher, while fleeing a thunderstorm. He allows her to take refuge in his cabin before assaulting her. Arsène even blackmails Mouchette into helping him cover up a crime he has committed.