Diary of a Country Priest

An incredibly beautiful film by Robert Bresson about a young, dying priest who arrives at his new parish in rural France and struggles to maintain his spiritual faith, his love for others even as those around him are venal, bitter and harbor vindictive thoughts, both towards him and each other. In every way, this is a flawless piece of work and my second favorite so far of Bresson’s films (tops on the list for me is A Man Escaped). Pretty much everything Bresson made is worth watching–he’s one of those filmmakers who infused so much thought and vision, uncompromised and clear-eyed, into each film that he redeems Western cinema of all its indulgent garbage. Bresson worked outside any larger movement–he wasn’t part of the French studio system nor of the New Wave–but the fact that he was embraced by both shows just how universal his greatness was. There isn’t a false note or dramatic stumble throughout Diary — all of it needs to be and appreciated exactly as it is. The Criterion DVD of this movie is, true to form, gorgeous, doing ample justice to the movie’s shimmering cinematography. A lovely and profound masterpiece.

Grade: A+

Directed by: Robert Bresson
Written by: Robert Bresson
Cast: Claude Leydu, Jean Riveyre, André Guibert, Rachel Bérendt, Nicole Maurey, Nicole Ladmiral


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