“There is only one director in the world who has made an absolute fetish of using non-actors and anyone who has seen a Bresson film and observed the Bresson faces knows with what care he chooses his ‘types’. It’s a ‘sine qua non’ of an avant garde filmmaker.”
- Satyajit Ray in ‘Our Films, Their Films’
‘Diary of a country priest’ is a breakthrough film of Bresson where he proved his distinctly intense and personal style of filmmaking. The most striking part of Bresson film lies in its detachment of emotions without glamour with absolute minimalist approach. The whole story is told through sublime silence of young priest, his diary record and internal monologues.
Claude Laydu is a kind of indifferent graceful priest whom I love to bow my head even though I’m not much into God or spirituality. He’s one of the great non professional casting of Breson. There’s lot of underplay, restraint in his intense act and its damn hard to carry that confronting Bressonian focused long close up shots. He is living isolated life and surviving on bread and wine with mental and physical trauma. Everything around him is so depressing. What’s the only moment of his soul confession for the man who heard the confessions of others is his daily scribbling on diary where he record his observation of life.
The sequence with the countess is the heart of the film where Bresson has juxtaposed binary opposition of faithless Vs faithful to God. Its here we witness the unshakable faith of the priest. Infact it’s the only positive transformation he brought in the indifferent country. It’s my humble request to all escapist Hollywood cinema lovers to stay away from this film simply because it's not made for entertainment purpose.
This is my second Bresson film after ‘Pickpocket’ and I’m so desperate to see his more. He is a one of those avant garde filmmaker who made cinema the best visual medium of artistic expressions.
A Masterpiece of French Cinema.