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767 Ratings

Les dames du Bois de Boulogne

Directed by Robert Bresson
France, 1945
Drama, Romance


This unique love story follows the maneuverings of a society lady as she connives to initiate a scandalous affair between her aristocratic ex-lover and a prostitute. With his second feature film, director Robert Bresson was already forging his singularly brilliant filmmaking technique.

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Les dames du Bois de Boulogne Directed by Robert Bresson
It had been a damn long time since I’d seen it, and maybe I expected to find out that the movie was more “Bressonian” than I remembered… But instead, I found myself almost awed by its angular sense of figure, which is like that of a black-and-white Art Deco illustration. The stylization is pitched differently; here, Bresson’s direction of the actors and his use of the camera embrace artifice much the same way as his subsequent films resist it. There are even some ingenious camera movements.
November 25, 2016
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The ensuing drama––both coerced and manipulated by Hélène, to ultimately futile ends––enfolds not simply vengeful maneuvering and situational irony, but also social satire and spiritual consciousness, rendering what would otherwise be a traditional melodrama into a modern morality play replete with near-metaphysical implications.
November 25, 2015
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Bresson’s last film featuring trained actors and his last before his legendary period of stylistic radicalism extending across the 50s and 60s, LES DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE combines the fussy fatalism of Jean Cocteau’s implausible screenplay (based on a story from Diderot’s Jacques le Fataliste et Son Maître) with a preview of Bressonian things to come: understated line delivery, extended fade-outs, and distinctive, poetic framings.
January 27, 2012
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