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'a Man Escaped' Directed By Robert Bresson, A Critique: The Purity Of Models

1212 words - 5 pages

"Model. Two mobile eyes in a mobile head, itself on a mobile body".Robert Bresson"Films can only be made by by-passing the will of those who appear in them, using not what they do, but what they are".Robert BressonRobert Bresson, a brilliant French film director who's unique techniques in displaying flawless realism, with deep simplicity marked a total new era of artistic film. Bresson rejected theater, and it's fakeness and strived only to project his own universe, and in turn his own real. Bresson's universe is not that of everyday reality. It differs not only because it is an artistic universe, an expression for his art outcries, but because it makes no attempt to pass for the everyday universe. (Ayfre, p.42) In Bresson's "A Man Escaped" (Un Condamne a mort s'est echappe), a film which tells us the true story of a French Lieutenant who escaped from a German prison, just hours before his execution; it is seen quite clearly. Bresson projects this film according to his own reality and his own realism in many aspects. The most important of them all is his technique in directing the actors, (or models as he liked to call them), and what their acting reflects. This essay shall discuss the above, and shed light on the realism he projects through his models, with utmost simplicity.Bresson rejected the species of involvement created in films by the expressiveness of the acting. (Sontag, 62). He desired to capture the essence of the human soul, which led him to remove anything fake, which he viewed professional acting as, therefore leading him to always hire non-professional and non-beautiful models in his films. In "A Man Escaped", that model was Francois Leterrier. Bresson had the actual resistance fighter Andre Devigny present when shooting the film, as to give insight into every single little detail Francois should do. This adds to the techniques used in order to project the perfection and realism that Bresson always wanted in his film. To get the non-professional effect, Bresson rehearsed his actors for several months before shooting began. One line, "lie down and sleep", required sixty takes in the actual filming. Bresson's work is all done "In order to capture the real", as he replied when asked why he poses such difficulties on himself while filming.Bresson always insisted that art is the discovery of what is necessary, and nothing more, and this is what he showed us through his models, in "A Man Escaped". Francois's acting had such simplicity to it, such an awkwardness and un-dramatic tone to it that it sticks in your mind. The movements of Francois are so stiff and discomfiting that they speak realistically and bear a mesmerizing intensity. In other words, all Bresson wanted in "A Man Escaped" was physical movement, meaning the exclusion of emotion, style and effect. That's why he asked the models to speak as if they were speaking to themselves, and use an immobile face, for he felt that an immobile face contains much more potential emotion...

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