Consider only his reputation as the ultimate minimalist filmmaker, and it becomes awfully easy to forget about the meat of Robert Bresson’s oeuvre — not just how very strange their mechanics are, but how these oddities burrow into the most elemental pieces of cinematic construction. Recently seeing The Devil, Probably on a big screen was as transportive for its sound and sense of movement as the rigid and, yes, “minimalist” compositions, sometimes to the point that a closing door or opened book could practically create a taste in the viewer’s mouth.
For all the mystery that can come with watching, Bresson’s philosophies and strategies are never clearer than when reading his staple text Notes on Cinematography, in some ways a written guide to what’s been put onscreen. Wisely, the people at Film Scalpel have created a video essay that overlays excerpts onto what is perhaps the most Bressonian film, Pickpocket. This is a vision of the philosophies and strategies in direct action, an ample reminder of Bresson’s whys and hows.
Watch the video below: