cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

FILM VIDEO ESSAY Hands of Bresson





FILM VIDEO ESSAY Bresson [Kogonada] 2




Hands of Bresson


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


By Kogonada


Commenter Robert Withers suggests it

conveys a Bressonian sensibility . . . these shots/your montage reveal something of the man and artist. Subtlety, spirituality, materiality.



While Sinead Harnwell quotes Laurence Olivier :

“The actor should be able to create the universe in the palm of his hand.”



Czlowiek Kamera:

Bresson believed (…Montaigne) that hands have their own soul.



Many video essays that rely solely on visuals often don’t work very well. What has been edited together can seem more like a set of jumbled trailers than a coherent message. Often it’s simply a poor choice of material. But this video is so well constructed we fall into the magical world of Bressons hands. How come more film-makers don’t use hands like this more often.


Some more


On Robert Bresson – by Masha Tupitsyn


Robert Bresson – Strictly Film School


Notes on Cinematography – Robert Bresson [Translated by Jonathan Griffin] pdf facsimile pp.75 [take pleasure in clicking through the pages and stopping at random – there will always be something to make you think.]

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January 12, 2015 Posted by | Bresson | , | Leave a comment

FILM BRESSON Au hasard Balthazar [1966] – Records of Material Objects in the Cinema #10: A Band-Aid on Anne Wiazemsky’s Leg






Iconic image of famous auteur looking for his cut. Can he see anything with his shades on, through a fog of smoke from his Gitane?


Records of Material Objects in the Cinema #10: A Band-Aid on Anne Wiazemsky’s Leg


MUBI blogs Written by Daniel Kasman, 13 January 2012


Ignore the short post but slip down to the comment by Matt

I’m curious if it is noticeable in the film’s scene rather than just a still from the film? Sometimes a shot like this may last a second or two – but as a frozen frame it seems so much more significant.

David Bordwell once laid out a whole color theory about an Angelopolous film. When I went back to see the scene it passed by so quickly that it barely registered. But, clearly, he had seen it on an editing device [or DVD] and was able to watch the film frame by frame. Which essentially made it a different scene.



There’s the viewer of the film and the maker of the film. Whether film or digital, editing involves looking at individual frames or freeze framing. Nowadays the viewer of a DVD can stop the film in much the same way as the editor does. The difference is the film-maker started off with a lot more footage to edit down to his final film, the viewer only has the final cut, whether to view as a film or frame by frame.



January 20, 2012 Posted by | Bresson, Robert Bresson | , | Leave a comment

FILM FRENCH BRESSON Pickpocket [1959]




SNIP BRESSON The Pickpocket [book]




In writing a post on Bresson’s The Devil, Probably, I re-watched Pickpocket because I learnt that Paul Schrader, the writer-director [American Gigolo, Patty Hearst, and Light Sleeper ], who interviewed Bresson in 1976 just prior to himself winning at Cannes for Taxi Driver – he wrote the script: Martin Scorsese directed – thought it the best film ever, using similar ending to The Pickpocket in several of his own films.

In this brief interview with Sheila Johnson in the Telegraph [23 January 2003], Schrader re-affirms his love for Pickpocket.

In part 4 of the YouTube of Pickpocket, there is a close-up of the fly-leaf of a book, The Prince of Pickpockets. The author appears to be Georges Barrington, although it looks like there is another name below it, suggesting it is the story of Georges Barrington by someone else. It turns out that Georges is George, and he was Irish. Almost all – no direct mention of the author of the book of George as thief – is explained here under the peg of the first plagiarised book/fake author. [More on George Barrington {1}, {2}]

So we have a character called Charles in a Bresson film studying a book about a thief whose life has been stolen by the author. Plus: thief, Barrington, whose real name may not been Barrington.  

Thre is a YouTube of a 1960 interview with Bresson (French with English subtitles). The two interviewers looks supiciously as if they are behaving like Bresson’s ‘models’. John Humphreys and Jeremy Paxman could well have learned from her ‘technique of interruption’. One comment in YouTube calls it The Trial of Robert Bresson. But this is Bresson by Bresson, and so useful.

February 19, 2010 Posted by | Bresson, Paul Schrader, Robert Bresson | , , | Leave a comment