Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne) (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne) (1954)

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Movie Info

An austere look at the experiences of a young priest in a small French parish, Robert Bresson's masterly Le Journal d'un curé de campagne (Diary of a Country Priest) presents a powerful, complex exploration of faith underneath a deceptively simple exterior. Drawn from a novel by Georges Bernanos, the film centers on the priest of Ambricourt (Claude Laydu), a withdrawn, devout young man whose social awkwardness leaves him isolated from the community he is meant to serve. Further problems derive from the priest's ill health, which limits him to a diet of bread and wine and hinders his ability to perform his duties. Growing sicker and increasingly uncertain about his purpose in life, the priest undergoes a crisis of faith that threatens to drive him away from his village and from God. Bresson presents his spiritual tale in a minimalist, unadorned style, relying on a rigorous series of stripped-down shots and utilizing non-actors in many of the supporting roles. The approach may initially seem distancing or ponderous to a contemporary audience, but the cumulative impact of the brilliant visuals and Laydu's powerful, restrained performance is unquestionable. Almost universally acclaimed, this searching drama is generally considered one of Bresson's finest works and a crucial classic of world cinema. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Cast

Claude Laydu
as Priest of Ambricourt
André Guibert
as The Priest of Torcy
Jean Riveyre
as The Count
Nicole Maurey
as Mlle. Louis
Serge Bento
as Mitonnet
Jean Danet
as Olivier
Martine Lemaire
as Seraphita
Yvette Etiévant
as Housekeeper
Antoine Balpêtré
as Dr. Delbende
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Critic Reviews for Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne)

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (10)

The chance to see Robert Bresson's Diary of a Country Priest... should not be passed up; it is an enterprise of great pith and moment in the history of cinema.

Full Review… | March 5, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

A film like Diary of a Country Priest gathers its strength as it continues. There's always the sense that Bresson knows exactly where he's going and the simplest way to get there.

Full Review… | March 5, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Bresson's third feature and in many ways his first major work.

Full Review… | May 5, 2011
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

A film that words fail.

Full Review… | April 21, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The word 'sublime' has often been used to describe this Robert Bresson masterpiece, a slow-paced film of great purity that portrays the pain and occasional joy of the religious life.

Full Review… | February 26, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

The full scope of the film's brilliance hits you with the force of a knockout punch.

Full Review… | February 23, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne)

I was extremely dissapointed. The biggest problem was the voice over. I mean I'd she motions for you to sit, you don't have to tell me I can see it. I can when you're having a meal, it felt like an audio book. While yes it was entertaining and fairly sad that voice over just ruined the whole thing for me

Daniel Dolgin
Daniel Dolgin

Super Reviewer

½

I know "Diary of a Country Priest" is a universally renowned classic but, sorry, I really did not enjoy this much. I can't relate to wallowing in this sort of miserable piety, and the lead actor has the same dazed, wounded expression on his face throughout the entire film. I have a pet peeve about overuse of narration which this movie certainly violated, and the shapeless, orchestral smears of the score seem quite maudlin and old-fashioned today. I can easily imagine someone else raving about how delicate and lovely Bresson's directing touch is, but I was counting the minutes until the finish. If I crave an old film about a troubled priest, I'll reach for "Nazarin" or "Winter Light" instead.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

I was extremely underwhelmed. SOOOO much unnecessary voice over, it really felt like Bresson didn't know how to make a film visually so he just patched things up with talking. Memo to you Robert it's a VISUAL medium. Check out Winter Light instead, it's more or less the same movie except made by a true master of the art form.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

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