Journal d'un curé de campagne (Diary of a Country Priest) Reviews
Creatively, Bresson and Laydu combine to do great, but simple things for the camera. An establishing shot of the parish has Laydu walking behind a metal gate, evoking his isolation immediately to the audience. The camera only moves at moments of faith, or regarding it, and it always looks up to the Priest - signaling again that he is living like the Son of God he so desperately serves. Bresson stays simple with his style, creating compositions that are meant to always keep focus on the Priest. He likes shadow, and uses it sparingly, as much of the film takes place during the day. Bresson also constantly fades to black, and many critics see this as a literal "opening of the eyes" as if the film is us viewing the life of this Priest from afar. The breaking of every scene by fading adds a good sense of pace to the film, and also creates a good sense of time. It's been said that this film had a significant impact on Martin Scorcese and his breakthrough film, Taxi Driver (a favorite of mine) - and I can totally see why. This film, like the former, is about a man searching for justice. Isolated, neglected, yet determined to do find happiness and solace in life. Laydu always seems solemn, quiet and deep in thought. He seems to be contemplating the "big questions" constantly, such as, What is the role of the Priest? Is it okay to fear losing my faith? He fleshes out the priest by giving him a face, body language, and that helps give the audience empathy for the character. Critic Dennis Schwartz has stated that, "[Diary of a Country Priest] can be viewed as the closest thing to a religious experience in film." Notice that in the entire film, Laydu only smiles once, when he goes to see the doctor, in hopes that he'll be okay. He always talks to God, and God's presence is felt through the entire narrative. Like the book, the film spends a lot of time speaking from the Priest's diary, literally showing us write out the passages he speaks for us in voiceover. The diary acts as his tangible way to hold onto his faith, the symbol of all he is living for. We all project ourselves into some inanimate object, whether it's for nostalgia or safety. The film draws its power from the source material, without feeling preachy. This is a deep film that is probably asking for a second viewing, and I intend to do just that. I will continue to think on the film's final line of dialogue, for which it is most famous.
In his films, he explores a criminal, a prisoner, and even a donkey. And in Diary of a Country Priest, he explores the life of a pious man surrounded by cruelty.
I am not a religious person, but Bresson depicts his "little priest" in such a way that one cannot help but feel sympathetic for a man who lives his faith in a world that has none. By the end, I was mesmerized and deeply moved by this simple story.
He had a tres sympathique quality, like Roddy McDowall. It wanders a bit, and indulges in some self-obsession, but the movie is strong.
Also, Chantal is among the most evil movie villains of all time.
Bresson is the anti-Bergman. He asks important questions, but without concluding a nihilism he's inevitably already assumed. Great work!
Filled with dialogue that necessitates quite a bit of reading which requires a certain level of commitment from the audience. I found the directors style quite distinctive. Especially how he went out of his way to tone the film down. From the understated performances to focusing on the aftermath of an important moment rather than the scene itself. Very precise with his camera placement and he loves fading in and out of scenes.
There is quite a lot of symbolism - most of which I missed. From what I could pick up and what I've read it deals with life being a healthy mix of the earthly and the divine and the one can not be without the other.
Not the easiest of films to watch, but required viewing if you appreciate good cinema.
This is the story about the young priest, who is remained nameless who arrives as the new towns priest in a small village named Ambricourt where he faces many challenges and seems not to fit in or understand the towns inhabitants. He's also don't feeling very well, his health is getting worse, while at the same time just eating bread and wine which doesn't makes it better.
To be honest I didn't think to much about this film. It was slow, and the dialogue and acting seed kind of hallowed, i didn't feel very much whating it, I though it would be more realistic and naturalistic, while the narration makes it even less. Thumbs down.