Robert Bresson’s Notes on Cinematography

A small, powerful book of significant thoughts on filmmaking: Robert Bresson’s Notes on the Cinematograph (NOTE: Out-of-print; available November 8, 2016). “Bresson left us with a concise number of important films, as well as a rather simple and beautiful book of aphorisms ostensibly about the act of shooting a film, but perhaps about more than just that. ‘Notes on Cinematography’ is curt and unflinching, filled with morality and at times uncomfortably extremist in it’s proposed methodology. Not surprisingly, when one watches a Bresson picture one immediately realizes that in ‘Notes on Cinematography’ the man was deadly serious. And why wouldn’t a man of integrity have acted any other way. I have given Notes on Cinematography to the people I care about the most. The people who truly love film, love art and love life for all the right reasons. Please do the same.” —ForestForTheTrees

A quest into the film-style of one of the greatest masters of the cinema. The Road to Bresson is a 1984 documentary by Leo de Boer and Jurrien Rood featuring interviews with filmmakers Louis Malle, Paul Schrader, and Andrei Tarkovsky.

Filmed mostly in his country home in 1965, Cinéastes de notre temps: Robert Bresson—Without a Trace (‘Ni vu, ni connu’) is a revealing discussion with Robert Bresson. Bresson at this time has completed six of his most well known films and is in the process of shooting Au Hasard Balthazar. Usually a man of few words, having never before granted an interview on camera, Bresson agreed to answer the questions of a then-unknown writer François Weyergans, for the Cinéastes de notre temps series. Ranging over topics from the inspiration behind his films, to his ideas on the use of sound, actors, editing and music, and the state of (the then) contemporary cinema (from James Bond to the New Wave), Bresson describes his singular approach to filmmaking. Incorporating clips from several of his films, and with a new introduction by Weyergans today, Robert Bresson — Without a Trace is a unique historical record that provides unparalleled insight into the work and ideas of Robert Bresson. —Icarus Films

Orson Welles presents Robert Bresson and Andrei Tarkovsky with Best Director honors at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

Robert Bresson expressed its position on the art of film in an interview that Paul Schrader, writer of Taxi Driver, made in 1972. Public PDF below.

“Cinema is not that: it has to express not through images, but through their relation to one another, which is not the same thing at all. Just like a painter who does not use colours, but their correlation; blue is blue in itself, but next to green, red or yellow, it is not the same blue anymore: it changes. The aim is for the film to be made of such a correlation of images, you take two images; they are neutral, but all of a sudden, next to each other, they vibrate, life enters them: and it is not really the life of the story or of the characters, it’s the life of the film.” —Robert Bresson on Film and Filmmaking

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