Capital Celluloid 2022 — Day 101: Wed Apr 13

Une Femme Douce (Bresson, 1969): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 6.20pm

This film, which also screens on April 6th and 18th and is part of the Big Screen Classics season, will be introduced on this evening by independent filmmaker and critic Alex Barrett.

Time Out review:
Robert Bresson's first film in colour, a wonderfully lucid adaptation of Dostoievsky's enigmatic short story about a young woman who kills herself for no apparent reason. An elliptical intimation of the suicide; a shot of the husband staring at his dead wife's face in an attempt to understand; then in a flat, even monotone, his voice embarks on its voyage of exploration - part confession, part accusation - and a series of heart-rendingly non-committal flashbacks fill in the details of their story. By the end, in a sense, one is no wiser than before. Was it because he loved her too much or too little, because he gave her too little money or too much, because he felt she was too good for him or not good enough? The extraordinary thing about the film is that any or all of these interpretations can be read into it, still leaving, undisturbed at the bottom of the pool, an indefinable sense of despair. Time was when Bresson's characters could look forward to salvation as a reward for their tribulations; but around this time the grace notes disappeared, his world grew darker, and the people in it - like this haplessly unhappy husband and wife - seemed doomed to a pilgrim's progress in quest of the secret which would allow the human race to belong again.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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