Video: Hands of Breton

Vox Populi

A visual essay on the tactile world of Robert Bresson created for the Criterion Collection.

Music: Schubert, Piano Sonata No. 20, D. 959 (Au Hasard Balthazar)

If there is a patron saint of French cinema, surely it must be Robert Bresson, considered, after Renoir, the greatest of 20th century Gallic filmmakers.  A new video from Kogonanda for the Criterion Collection focuses on the director’s inimitable use of gesture in his films.

Though he made only 13 films in a fifty year career, Bresson’s influence is profound. The relative paucity of his output is a testament both to his exacting working methods and difficulty in finding funding.  Bresson was influential on the French New Wave, and they acknowledged his influence, though his films were not nearly as experimental or confrontational.

One of his chief aims was to extricate cinema from theater (he made his first short in 1934, when the proscenium…

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