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Robert Bresson: A Passion for Film 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0195319798
ISBN-10: 0195319796
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Editorial Reviews


"Impressive...Robert Bresson: a Passion for Film is an eloquent and often persuasive demonstration of Bresson's importance as a filmmaker, and is a model of auteurist reading, both as analysis and interpretation." H-France

"We are all still coming to terms with Robert Bresson, and the peculiar power and beauty of his films. This thoughtfully argued, wonderfully lucid book goes a long way toward giving us a clearer understanding of one of the cinema's greatest artists."--Martin Scorsese

"Bresson is among the most meticulous, moral, and profound of filmmakers. Tony Pipolo evokes and celebrates his genius with this readable, engrossing study."--Roger Ebert

"It becomes clearer all the time: Robert Bresson's films demand and deserve a lifetime of intense scrutiny. Tony Pipolo has given them just that, a lifetime of viewing, analysis, and exploration. Following the pathways of the films, following the footsteps of their inscrutable creator, he brings us a Bresson at once more ascetic and more majestic than we had imagined possible."--Dudley Andrew, Yale University

"Pipolo explores Bresson's sources and methods across his career, tracing the course of spiritual grace in a fallen world. Trained both as a film historian and a psychoanalyst, Pipolo sees Bresson's odysseys as not unlike those of the psychoanalytic journey, highlighting their common goals of liberation and transformation-and provides profound new insight into one of cinema's most elusive auteurs."--Tom Gunning, University of Chicago

"[T]his book is, as Pipolo writes, a 'highly personal response' to Bresson's body of work and a chronological, in-depth dissection of the films with particular attention paid to Bresson's style. ... This is a scholarly yet accessible study."--Library Journal

"As the book methodically progresses from film to film, Pipolo's unique dissection of Bresson's characters prompts readers to search beneath the visual chiaroscuro of Bresson's scene 'painting' and explore the core emotions, the underlying moral fiber, of the on-screen players. On every page of his masterful work, Pipolo's observations serve as a potent reminder to the serious spectator: it's often what's left unspoken--the slightest trembling of a lip or a downcast gaze--that can prove most vital to a film."--Film Comment

"Pipolo's volume is a thorough chronicle, imbued with warmth and personality."--Bookforum

"This compelling volume is the most comprehensive effort in English yet to celebrate and analyze the thirteen features Bresson (1901-1999) made ... . Author Tony Pipolo ... brings a sophisticated respect for the life of the mind to what is obviously a labor of love."--PRI's The World

"[Pipolo's] familiarity with [Bresson's] works is breathtaking. He constructs a meticulous commentary for each film in chronological order, citing individual shots and cuts that illustrate Bresson's mastery of his art. With an austerity that matches his subject matter, the critic pares away extraneous material and focuses directly on the films themselves. ... Professor Pipolo has provided the definitive academic study of the films of Robert Bresson to date ... . Future scholars will undoubtedly use this text as their point of departure for further research."--America Magazine

"One of the most careful and thoroughgoing studies of Bresson that we have, adding appreciably to both scholarship about his work and our critical understanding of it...When it comes to single book-length studies, Pipolo's is...clearly the best we've had so far, in English or in French." --Jonathan Rosenbaum, Cineaste

"Offers an aesthetic biography of Bresson's monumental canon. It works...Pipolo does the reader--and Bresson--a huge service by working through each of the 13 features in turn, combining brilliant close readings with a clear command of philosophic, religious, and literary contexts. Because he is solid on film, psychology, and philosophy, Pipolo provides what is probably the best companion to date on this auteur...Highly recommended." --Maurice Yacowar, Choice

About the Author

Tony Pipolo is Professor Emeritus of Film and Literature at the City University of New York. He is a practicing psychoanalyst in New York City.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 407 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195319796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195319798
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.2 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jason on January 5, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was given this book for Christmas, and couldn't be happier with it. Bresson is a subject who has been needing some responsible modern appreciation free from the blatant agendas of Gary Indiana and David Ehrenstein, both of whom push their interpretations as the only real readings of the films of Bresson and prefer to discredit his spirituality, regardless of what the man himself had stated numerously in interviews throughout his entire career. This situation is addressed in the introduction to the book, in which the author himself points out this dilemma.

Pipolo has pursued Bresson with zeal and accumulated a wealth of knowledge that he shares with us from hundreds of articles, reviews, interviews, essays and firsthand discussions with the filmmaker's widow. He has provided personal translations of French interviews with Bresson, which only further demonstrates the seriousness he approached this book with.

He also offers extensive readings of each film, with context regarding film history and cinematic techniques, and offers new appreciation for lesser-known films in Bresson's oeuvre.

Using his background in both film history and psychology, he has interesting and illuminating interpretations about the master's cinema. Unlike Indiana and others, however, he is quick to point out these are merely personal interpretations, and he offers them only for consideration, opting to let each viewer ultimately come to their own conclusions. This, to me, is what I look for in academic film criticism.

This book makes a wonderful companion to exploring the works of Robert Bresson, aiding newcomers in appreciation and enriching the experience for the established lover of Bresson.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Schwartz on June 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written, free of arcane theorizing, and knowledgable, Pipolo's review of Bresson's oeuvre is a delight. While I have not finished it yet, it is a welcome addition to the growing body of work about Bresson.
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