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L'Argent (BFI Modern Classics)

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0851707334
ISBN-10: 0851707335
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kent Jones has written widely on the cinema, notably for Film Comment. He has been a guest programmer and jury-member for film festivals around the world, and is programer at The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: British Film Institute (October 27, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851707335
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851707334
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,425,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Kent Jones offers a third way for film lovers who want to appreciate the films of Robert Bresson, but are daunted by both their reputation for austere formal rigour, and by critics' insistence on their Christian doctrinal severity. Jones advises us to reverse the usual process, which is to weld Big Themes onto the films, and instead look at what's on the screen closely, the 'sensual details' of Bresson's art, such as the hands that do routine work, the sway of coffee in a mug, a glass of wine falling on the floor, the sound of a rushing stream.
On a purely visual level, the ex-painter Bresson's films can seem unusually flat, but if you connect this deliberate flatness to Bresson's use of sound and light, and the careful way he builds scenes through precise composition and 'punchy' editing, a unique three-dimensionality is achieved. If you know how to look, Bresson's pessimistic films glow with life; if you don't, they seem mean and drab. Jones' book does what literature on film should do and rarely does - it opens your eyes. I rewatched 'L'Argent' soon after reading this study and the experience was revelatory. What I had previously watched with dutiful admiration suddenly became vibrant and urgent.
Jones' book is a very old-fashioned piece of film-criticism, with no recourse to psychoanalysis or feminism, no attempt to discuss the film's production process or its cultural context, or to apply biographical information (probably because, in Bresson's case, there is so little known). For Jones, 'L'Argent' is a Great Film by a Great Auteur, and analysed accordingly, as if it were a book, each detail dissected and related to the whole.
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