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Notes on the Cinematograph (Paperback)

, | New York Review of Books | 11/15/2016

ISBN-10 : 1681370247   ISBN-13 : 9781681370248   List Price : $14.95

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Overview

The French film director Robert Bresson was one of the great artists of the twentieth century and among the most radical, original, and radiant stylists of any time. He worked with nonprofessional actors&;models, as he called them&;and deployed a starkly limited but hypnotic array of sounds and images to produce such classic works as A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, Diary of a Country Priest, and Lancelot of the Lake. From the beginning to the end of his career, Bresson dedicated himself to making movies in which nothing is superfluous and everything is always at stake.

Notes on the Cinematograph distills the essence of Bresson&;s theory and practice as a filmmaker and artist. He discusses the fundamental differences between theater and film; parses the deep grammar of silence, music, and noise; and affirms the mysterious power of the image to unlock the human soul. This book, indispensable for admirers of this great director and for ­students of the cinema, will also prove an inspiration, much like Rilke&;s Letters to a Young Poet, for anyone who responds to the claims of the imagination at its most searching and rigorous.

"A key influence on the French New Wave and the director of such iconic works as Pickpocket and A Man Escaped, Robert Bresson is one of the central figures of French cinema. Notes on the Cinematograph is not only his definitive treatise on film--its inherent peculiarity and potential--but an ascetic meditation on how art transcends, and is transformed by, the senses. Bresson upends inherited truths with empirical ones, calling for film to divest itself of the trappings of theater in order to come into its own as an art form. While theater is capable of simulation, film can capture immanent being. Therefore, he argues, the two forms are innately at odds: "No marriage of theater and cinematography without both being exterminated." To this end, Bressonrechristens his actors "models" and conducts them through grueling shoots where they repeat their lines and movements until he deems them vacant of actorly intention and charged, instead, with inscrutability: "A model. Enclosed in his mysterious appearance. He has brought home to him all of him that was outside. He is there, behind that forehead, those cheeks.""--

Product Details

  • ISBN-10: 1681370247
  • ISBN-13: 9781681370248
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 128
  • Dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.00 (d)