|Genre: Drama, Society, Religion|
Plot: Robert Bresson's profoundly moving DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST represents a radical departure from the staid movie adaptations of novels that had preceded it. Rather than translate author George Bernanos's story of a small-town priest's struggle with doubt--and the petty provocations of the townspeople--in the usual fashion, Bresson chooses instead to place an emphasis on the character’s inner life, his thoughts, and simple joys.
With this film, Bresson crafted a minimalist style that he continued to use for the rest of his career. Made on low budgets and shot primarily on location, Bresson’s studies of souls in crisis influenced an incredible number of subsequent European and American filmmakers who incorporated elements of his style into their work--for example, distinct echoes of DIARY can be found all throughout Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER.
The hallmarks of Bresson's style included the casting of nonprofessionals in the lead roles, his unique framing of characters, his spare but extremely effective use of sound effects, and subtle, unobtrusive camerawork. In DIARY, Bresson strips away the most melodramatic aspects of his hero's journey toward salvation and thus curiously does what he maintained he would never do--he creates a work so fragile and honest that that it cannot
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