Robert Bresson

Introduction: Who is Robert Bresson?

Robert Bresson is considered one of the most important filmmakers in the history of cinema. Born in 1901 in France, Bresson began his career as a painter before turning to filmmaking in the 1940s. He is known for his unique approach to filmmaking, which emphasizes the use of non-professional actors, minimal dialogue, and a focus on the physicality of the human body. Bresson’s films are often described as austere and minimalist, but they are also deeply spiritual and philosophical.

The Films of Robert Bresson: An Overview

Robert Bresson

A Man Escaped (1956)

A Man Escaped is perhaps Bresson’s most well-known film, and for good reason. The film tells the story of a French Resistance fighter who is imprisoned in a Nazi prison camp during World War II. The film is a masterclass in tension and suspense, as the protagonist meticulously plans his escape. Bresson’s use of sound is particularly noteworthy in this film, as he uses it to create a sense of claustrophobia and isolation.

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket is another of Bresson’s most famous films. The film tells the story of a young pickpocket who becomes increasingly addicted to his criminal lifestyle. Bresson once again uses non-professional actors to great effect, as the lead actor Martin LaSalle gives a remarkable performance. The film is also notable for its use of close-ups, which emphasize the physicality of the pickpocket’s actions.

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

Au Hasard Balthazar is perhaps Bresson’s most poetic and lyrical film. The film tells the story of a donkey named Balthazar, who is passed from owner to owner over the course of his life. The film is a meditation on the nature of suffering and the human condition, and it is deeply moving and profound. Bresson once again uses non-professional actors, including a young Anne Wiazemsky in one of her first roles.

L’Argent (1983)

L’Argent is Bresson’s final film, and it is a masterpiece. The film tells the story of a counterfeit bill that sets off a chain of events that leads to tragedy. The film is a searing indictment of capitalism and the corrupting influence of money. Bresson’s use of sound and image is particularly striking in this film, as he creates a sense of dread and foreboding that builds to a devastating climax.

The Legacy of Robert Bresson

Bresson’s Influence on Filmmakers

Robert Bresson’s influence on filmmakers cannot be overstated. His unique approach to filmmaking has inspired countless directors, including Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, and Michael Haneke. Bresson’s use of non-professional actors, his emphasis on physicality, and his minimalist style have all had a profound impact on the art of cinema.

The Importance of Bresson’s Philosophy

Bresson’s films are not just technical achievements; they are also deeply philosophical works that grapple with questions of faith, morality, and the human condition. Bresson’s emphasis on the physicality of the human body and his use of non-professional actors reflect his belief in the importance of authenticity and the rejection of artifice. Bresson’s films are a testament to the power of cinema to explore the most profound questions of human existence.


Robert Bresson was a master filmmaker whose influence can still be felt in cinema today. His films are not just technical achievements, but deeply spiritual and philosophical works that continue to inspire and challenge audiences. If you have not yet discovered the masterful films of Robert Bresson, now is the time to do so.


Who is Robert Bresson?

Robert Bresson was a French film director known for his unique and masterful style of filmmaking. He directed 13 feature films between 1943 and 1983.

What is the style of Robert Bresson’s films?

Robert Bresson’s films are known for their minimalist, austere style. He believed in using non-professional actors and focusing on the small details of everyday life to create a sense of realism.

What are some of Robert Bresson’s most famous films?

Some of Robert Bresson’s most famous films include “Pickpocket,” “A Man Escaped,” “Au Hasard Balthazar,” and “Mouchette.”

What is the best way to approach watching Robert Bresson’s films?

The best way to approach watching Robert Bresson’s films is to pay close attention to the small details and the ways in which he uses sound and image to create a sense of tension and emotion. It’s also helpful to understand his philosophy of filmmaking and his belief in the power of simplicity.

Why is Robert Bresson considered a master filmmaker?

Robert Bresson is considered a master filmmaker because of his unique and influential style, his attention to detail, and his ability to create emotional and powerful films using simple techniques. His films continue to inspire and influence filmmakers today.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top