Bresson on Bresson
What strikes one about this illuminating collection of interviews with revered French filmmaker Robert Bresson (1901a 1999), edited by his widow, Mylene, is the unwavering consistency of the philosophy. Thoughts appear time and again, always just a bit more refineda just like his films. In several interviews, Bresson explains the unaffected performances he elicited by saying he tells his actors, aWhen youare talking, talk to yourself.a Not that there is much dialogue in his famously spare work; in 1960 he states, aWhat Iam trying to do is to come up to the edge of saying too little, in order to try to express what other films express with words instead with silence.a He repeatedly compares directing to painting, his first metier, observing that the relationship between colors makes meaning in paintings; likewise, the juxtaposition of images makes meaning in filmmaking. One would be hard pressed to find more than a few interviews where he doesnat speak against the cinema of the timea which he refers to as afilmed theater.a Cinephiles will delight in reading this book and following Bressonas thinking as it develops further and makes each interview more compelling than the last.
Robert Bresson is considered one of the most important film directors of the 20th century and a master of modern French cinema. Jean-Luc Godard said of Bresson, "Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music." Here, aspiring directors and film-lovers alike can glean knowledge of the craft from one of its finest practitioners.