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Critics reviews
Les dames du Bois de Boulogne
Robert Bresson France, 1945
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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Instead of lingering in the more permissive world of carriages, Bresson thrusts his intrigue into the more urgent world of cars. In a sense, Bresson suspends his characters in that dead present Camus commemorated in The Plague at about the same time. Yet his characters retain a Racinean purity of feeling in a century that demands a more detailed documentation of social relevance.
April 16, 1964
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