'Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is the German music’. (Jean-Luc Godard)
'I am only interested in the views of two people: one is called Bresson’. (Andrei Tarkovsky)
Robert Bresson (1901-1999) is one of just a few master filmmakers to have an adjective to describe his signature cinema and style. But to make ‘Bressonian’ cinema is to enter into a mystique of filmmaking that having – say – a ‘Fordian’ or ‘Chaplinesque’ quality could never match. It’s more total than a style or theme. It’s a belief system: in cinema’s capacity as an art form to manifest the sublime.
Following on from the May-June season marking Robert Bresson’s filmmaking, we’re offering a small, defining survey series of the many films and filmmakers who have honoured his practice and vision. For those who don’t know his cinema, Bresson’s influence is surprisingly recurrent and astonishingly diverse. So many of his filmmaking peers and successors were also his greatest fans; and for many the Bressonian described their aspiration to make cinema without compromise. Bresson has been name-checked by European greats like Tarkovsky, Bergman, Aki Kaurismäki, the Dardenne brothers and Alexander Sokurov; by New Hollywood and American Indie masters like Coppola, Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch and – especially – Paul Schrader (who has written frequently on Bresson and who repeatedly references films such as Pickpocket); and by Asian (Hou Hsiao-hsien, ‘Beat’ Takeshi) and African cinema’s auteurs. The selection explores how the stylistic and spiritual influence of one great filmmaker can move the work and feelings of many – and in many different ways.
Thanks to: Johan Ericson (The Swedish Film Institute); Paul Tonta (Madman Entertainment); Mark Spratt (Potential Films); David Baudain (Match Factory); Shochiku Corporation; Icon Film Distribution.
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