Essential Big Screen 2023
Screening Dates
  • December 10, 2023 8:20
  • December 22, 2023 6:00
  • January 3 (Wednesday) 8:20
New Restoration

Bresson’s best film … Every shot is as true as a handful of earth.”

François Truffaut

Perhaps the quintessential Bresson picture, Diary of a Country Priest is the work that established the aesthetic austerity and metaphysical intensity of the director’s celebrated style. Based on a novel by Georges Bernanos, and featuring a cast of non-professionals (henceforth a Bresson hallmark), the film charts the odyssey of a young parish priest, self-doubting and dying of cancer, whose attempts to minister to the spiritual needs of his flock are met with utter indifference. Critics were awestruck by Bresson’s brilliance at filming the apparently unfilmable, at finding a cinematic language for the life of the spirit and for the story of a man’s interior development; some cited the work as a stunning return to expressive pictorial values not seen since silent cinema. Diary of a Country Priest truly bespeaks and epitomizes a cinema of grace.

In French with English subtitles

A film of great purity and, at the end, a Bach-like intensity … One of the few modern works in any art form that helps one understand the religious life.” Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

Almost physically compels recognition as a masterpiece … It touches our sensibilities—an elevated spiritual sensibility, no doubt, but in the end it speaks more to our hearts than to our minds.” André Bazin, Cahiers du cinéma

Restored DCP courtesy of StudioCanal