Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (Ladies of the Park) (1964)
Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 15
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,081
Though this interesting film was among many responsible for the critical success of French autuer Robert Bresson, it was by no means a commercial success. Slightly different than his other films, director Bresson utilized the contrasty photography of Philippe Agostini (Sylvie et le Fantome, Monde du Silence) and chose professional actors Paul Bernard (Lumiere D'ete), Maria Casares (Enfants du Paradis), and Elina Labourdette (Shanghai Drama) to star rather than non-professionals. With dialogue
Apr 3, 1964 Wide
Mar 11, 2003
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Sexuality takes precedence over salvation, but there is the same interiority, the same intensity, the same rigorous exclusion of all inessentials.
It is slow, solemn, rigidly conventional and as stilted as a silent film, but it shows Bresson's early ability to catch sober and smoldering moods with his camera.
Like much (if not all) of Bresson's best work, it can't be assimilated to realist criteria, but it's unforgettable for its fire-and-ice evocations of tragedy in an unlikely setting.
The blend of flame and frost in Maria Casares' gaze is where Bresson and Cocteau really meet and meld
The performances by both Casares and Labourdette were strikingly captivating and were enough in themselves to carry the film.
The fact of Bresson's as yet undeveloped style, coupled with Cocteau's fearless lyricism, produces a one-of-a-kind film. It's irreproducible, a jewel.
Bresson's treatment of the material has the marks of his later style, but it's also more overtly stylized than anything else he did later.
Elina Labourdette is wonderful as Agnès, conveying her character's ethical strength with real beauty within and without.
Les Dames has moments of subtle power that suggest the direction Bresson's filmmaking aesthetic would eventually take; in fact, it was the last film he made in the traditional style before striking out completely on his own.
Already [Bresson] exerts complete control over the entire work, stripping away extraneous emotions.
Praised by such filmmakers as Jean-Luc Godard and Michelangelo Antonioni, the film is rarely screened.
It is not, by any means, the best film made during the Occupation, but it is a key work in Bresson's oeuvre and one that is surprisingly absorbing even today.
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- The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (Les dames du Bois de Boulogne) (DE)
- The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (Les dames du Bois de Boulogne) (UK)