Monday, March 30, 2009

Fragments: Bresson

I have been watching movies all my life but prior to seeing Diary of a Country Priest I had never had a conscious cinematic experience. Prior to Country Priest my ideas about cinema were naïve. Thrity or so years of watching, digesting and mentally ranking bang-bang shoot outs, car chases, police procedurals, love scenes and vampires are to me now so much grand guingol, a shadow play of phantasms. Even the best of them, the Kubricks, the Orson Wellses, the Kurosawas, they are ultimately entertainments of various refinements. I've been moved, humored, distracted but I never saw the film as an experience unique to itself. I have always, deep down, felt that movies were an amalgam of arts rather than unified, creative impulse. There were too many things that could get out of hand, to many variables that a single person could not compensate for. Unlike the painter, or the solitary writer, the film maker seemed at the mercy of circumstance. His vision swayed by the passing of time and the demands of pragmatism. I picture him on a raft on a river, being pulled along but never coming to the place he set off for, unless by accident.

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