Robert Bresson: Depth Behind Simplicity

  • Sarah Jane Gorlitz


On December 18, 1999, one of the world's greatest filmmakers, Robert Bresson, passed away at the age of 98. Although Bresson made only thirteen films over forty years, together they represent a body of work that is unparalleled in its stylistic consistency and the strength of its singular vision. Aside from Jean-Luc Godard, no other post-war French filmmaker's influence has spanned so many generations of filmmakers, so many countries, and such diverse aesthetics. Bresson's contribution to modern cinema has, however, only relatively recently come to proper recognition. As a result (and due to his own insistence on privacy), very little is known of the man himself or the events of his personal life.(1) What details we do know are vague: he began his career as a painter, turned to script-writing in the thirties (at which time he directed a short comedy, Les affaires publiques,) and spent the beginning...