Diary of a Country Priest (1951) | 16 September 2011 | 7.00 pm

Journal d’un Curé de Campagne

Dir. Robert Bresson

France 1951 | Black & White | 115 mins | Drama

A new priest (Claude Laydu) arrives at his first parish, the French country village of Ambricourt. He soon discovers that he is not welcome there. Through his diary entries, the young man tries to make sense of the people's rejection of him and his own suffering. In doing so he narrates his parallel struggles - with his community, with his failing health and with his faith in God. Using non-professional actors and a sparse but directed use of sound and image, this is the first of Bresson’s films to fully represent his stylistic philosophy. Rejecting all explicit theatricality, the viewer is exposed to a purity of vision- and a heart-breaking meditation on the human condition. Its influence can be seen in Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver (1976) and more recently in The White Ribbon (2009) by Michael Haneke.

More info on the Criterion Collection website.