Capital Celluloid 2019 - Day 214: Fri Aug 2

Une Femme Douce (Bresson, 1969): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm

Robert Bresson's ninth feature film but his first made in colour, adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky's short story, A Gentle Creature (Krotkaya) (1876) but transposed to 1960s Paris, Une Femme Douce has been restored in 2K digital format, with thanks to Park Circus.
The film introduced audiences to budding young actress Dominique Sanda in her very first screen role, before she would go on to appear in more than 40 films. Sanda stars as Elle, a young woman with nothing and everything to lose. A meditation on shared loneliness, Une Femme Douce is a cinematic tragedy of great proportions. Returning to the big screen with greater potency than before, as viewed through a contemporary lens of social and cinematic gendered violence, Bresson's piercing and unforgettable film reveals the prescient impact of the male gaze. The film gets an extended run at ICA Cinema. Full details here.
Time Out review:
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.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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