cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

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

Film: Paul Schrader on Robert Bresson (two part Youtube)



Paul Schrader ( famous scriptwriter of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver) sheds light on Bresson in a two part Youtube.

I learnt about Bresson a few years ago and bought the DVD of Au Hasard Balthazar as a start.   It is possible to hate a film’s style but understand what the creator was getting at and so really not quite hate it just be annoyed by some of the ways it was made.  A very common reaction amongst viewers is to to say the donkey was the star: it was, without a doubt.

Schrader going through Bresson’s Pickpocket was a highly instructive.  I made myself watch  Balthazar again, overcoming the feeling that I could not bear to watch the suffering one more time.  The stylised wooden acting still jars. But this time I thought of masks in a Greek play. But it doesn’t work for me as I would like it to. One can get the point of a film while not enjoying the experience of it.

There is a lot of meat in the interviews: at one point Schrader says Bresson’s is saying with Pickpocket (and presumably the rest): “I am going to recede from you ever so slowly till you start coming towards me.” Schrader later goes on to discuss  his view that film is not a spiritual medium.

A second film post will tackling the cinematographic long take after an experience with some Yuutubes of samples of the Hungarian director Bela Tarr.



August 15, 2008 Posted by | film [its techniques], Robert Bresson | , , , | Leave a comment