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3,241 Ratings

A Man Escaped

Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut

Directed by Robert Bresson
France, 1956


Based on the memoir of André Devigny, a French Resistance fighter suffering from malnutrition plots his escape from a stark Nazi prison after being captured.

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A Man Escaped Directed by Robert Bresson

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1957 | Winner: Best Director

National Board of Review

1957 | Winner: Top Foreign Films

BAFTA Awards

1958 | Nominee: Best Film from any Source

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

1960 | Nominee: Best Foreign Director

[Fontaine isn’t] given much background—we don’t know where he comes from, the nature of his role, his family life, or the obstacles he’ll face beyond the prison walls. We know him and we judge him only by his actions, and that is enough. What appears on camera is significant. What does not is not. Every detail is deliberate and revelatory. A MAN ESCAPED is Bresson at his best—the perfect marriage of form and content.
May 22, 2015
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A Man Escaped is so absorbing because Bresson’s traditional methods of de-emphasis imbue the film with an almost maddening tension. The prisoner’s panic and desperation is felt, but rarely seen. We can barely read Fontaine’s emotions because he can’t afford to allow them to distract from the task at hand, and so the details of Fontaine’s preparation for escape come to be imbued with a pregnant, repressed urgency as well as an ironic beauty…
March 24, 2013
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Of all of Bresson’s films, A Man Escaped should be required viewing for all film students, as examples of economy, simplicity, and striking proof of the power of images to convey ideas, emotions and faith. As with all of his films, Bresson in A Man Escaped strips away all that is unnecessary, concentrating on the essence of the title character’s struggle to escape from a military prison, creating a world of perpetual unease and unceasing struggle.
March 18, 2012
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