Monday, March 24, 2008
The Wind Will Blow Where it Will
You either love him or you fall asleep. Robert Bresson. Or maybe you haven’t heard of him. He’s a French filmmaker who worked mostly in the 50s and 60s. His best known film is probably Pickpocket (1959), famous especially for a train corridor theft, that is fast paced, but does not resort to any overt film devices.
I just rented A Man Escaped (1956), which in French, has a beautiful second title that can be translated The Wind Will Blow Where it Will (Le vent soufflé où il veut). The film is economical and sparse, and follows in minute, almost boring detail, the escape process of a French prisoner in occupied France. What it shows, it does through subtext: an intense spirit of protest as a fuel of life. Not in this country!
One of the most moving characters – although it’s hard to use “moving” or “character” to describe Bresson – is the prisoner next door to the protagonist, who at first shows reticence and even antagonism towards his neighbor’s plans. But, by the end, he has come to hope, almost as a redemption.