Described by Susan Sontag as 'the master of the reflective mode in film' Robert Bresson is widely regarded by movie critics and students of the cinema as one of the greatest directors of the twentieth century. This introduces Bresson's movies to a broad audience, assesses his films in the context of detailed plot summaries, vivid descriptions of characters and settings, and perceptive, jargon-free insights into the director's execution, intention, and technique. Among these films, made between 1943 and 1983, are Diary of a Country Priest, A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, The Trial of Joan of Arc, Au Hasard Balthasar, Mouchette, A Gentle Woman, Lancelot of the Lake, and L'Argent. Each of these films in its own way illustrates what Joseph Cunneen calls Bresson's 'spiritual style'. Though not necessarily focused on the explicitly religious, they illustrate two complementary principles: on the negative side, the rejection of what the director called 'photographed theatre' with its artificiality and dependence on celebrity performers.
On the more positive side, as Bresson himself expressed it, the conviction that, 'The supernatural is only the real rendered more precise; real things seen close up.'
Joseph Cunneen is co-founder of the international quarterly Cross Currents where he was also editor for nearly half a century. He has published studies on the filmmakers Kielowski, Rohmer, Tarkovsky and Bresson.