Unreal Nature

November 3, 2016

The Night Within His Characters

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:56 am

Bresson is entirely comfortable in showing the banal indifference which characterizes most of our actions.

This is from ‘Night in Robert Bresson’s Work’ by Iradj Azimi in the section ‘Filmmakers on Bresson‘ found in Robert Bresson edited by James Quandt (1998):

I have often wondered from where comes the music flowing though each film of Robert Bresson, a music which has never left me.

To try to define it is impossible, for it seems to emanate from an invisible source, yet is intensely present throughout his films.

The characters carry with themselves their mystery, a sort of interior darkness, a sort of chaos. Bresson gives us some inkling of these interior nights. The inklings which are rare and striking, light lightning.

Here is precisely Bresson’s art: he renders visible and evident the night within his characters, in broad daylight.

Of course it is possible to evoke here what one calls a style. But Bresson has never aimed for a style, and still less his own style. He has never been haunted by inventing one either. After all, did Dostoevsky have a style when he was rendering Raskolnikov bending over the bridge, gazing down at his murderous thoughts?

Bresson is the watchman of interior chaos. The watchman of darkness. Beyond any epoch or territory: the closest character to Lancelot is Michel, the pickpocket. They carry with themselves the same darkness, the same music.

Besides their shadows and beauty, the films of Robert Bresson have a documentary aspect: a documentary on the beyond, on interior darkness. A documentary on the invisible.

For this reason, Bresson’s music, although haunting, will remain forever indescribable. And this is undoubtedly how it should be.

Next is from ‘Notes on L’Argent‘ by Atom Egoyan:

No one responds the way we expect them to. Bresson is entirely comfortable in showing the banal indifference which characterizes most of our actions.

Nothing is as thrilling as we want it to be. A bank robbery is almost cruel in its apparent sense of visual deprivation.

If education is formulated on making us understand the relationship of action to consequence, Bresson is a supreme teacher.

He is intolerant of the casual viewer.

Our sense of morality is aroused by having so little with which to immediately identify.

We enter because of an apparent void, only to find that decisions have been made without our consent.

This is alarming yet completely transcendent.

My most recent previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

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