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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bresson's first film, 16 July 2013
By 
technoguy "jack" (Rugby) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Angels Of Sin / Les anges du péché / Angels of the Streets (1943) Region 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Compatible [DVD] (DVD)
Les Anges du Peche is Bresson's earliest film,containing many of the themes of his later films.In it are two of the enclosed environments,prison and convent,he was to explore in later films.He'd spent a year imprisoned by the Nazis before making it.Was the French defeat of 1940 the result of the moral decadence of the 3rd Republic?Written by Dominican Bruckberger, who developed the script with Bresson.The idea behind the salvation of Therese is the idea of saving France with the sacrifice of Anne-Marie. A wealthy young woman, Anne-Marie Lamaury, decides to follow her vocation and becomes a nun in a convent which occupies itself with the rehabilitation of female prisoners. Bresson doesn't illustrate human psychology,but the working out of redemption and spirituality.His scenes have an exemplary precision,simplicity and are weighted by religious themes. The nature of sin, the susceptibility of the human spirit to evil, and the path back to redemption are ideas which underpin much of Bresson's cinema,with its themes of imprisonment and freedom,or the spirit of France following the war.

Les Anges du Peché is a conventional film, made using standard film-making techniques with professional actors. Yet, at the same time,the film bears the unmistakable stamp of its creator, both in the film's subject matter (the necessity for redemption in spiritual fulfilment) and its directness.It treats of the idea of redemption from 2 different perspectives,that of Therese and Anne-Marie Laury.The sinner and the saint are equally deserving of spiritual renewal, and the fact that both find grace through each other is a typically Bressonesque comment that in human nature there are no absolutes in good or evil. During a prison visit,Anne_Marie meetsanother young woman Thérèse, with whom she starts to take an interest. Thérèse resolutely claims that she is innocent and rejects Anne-Marie's attentions.When she is released from prison,Therese kills the man who committed the crime for which she was sentenced. She then seeks sanctuary in Anne-Marie's convent but is unable to speak about what she has done. Anne-Marie is nonetheless determined to bring about Therese's spiritual transformation,even if she risks alienating herself from her fellow sisters.

This is a very powerful and pure work, which explores the Christian themes of self-sacrifice and redemption with a kind of intense, candid, clear-sighted conviction that one would expect from Bresson. Its story about two women who choose to join a convent, and the different reasons for doing so (one being essentially self-less and the other selfish-who is "on the run")is far more compelling than it might sound. As usual there is a brilliant precision in its film language and narrative, and it conveys its social ambiance and characters (the various nuns mostly) using Bresson's typically stripped-down, modest style which manages to be engagingly dramatic. For an atheist I also found myself completely engaged by the film's concerns because of the honest, complex and sparing way in which Bresson explored them.A tragic course is followed,in the scene where each sister receives a sentence, for Anne-Marie, if she hears a cry to remain deaf to all other voices.She succeeds not by wilfully doing good or display,only through egoless love and self sacrifice does she give Therese happiness and freedom.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtitles, 26 Mar 2013
By 
Mr. MJ S. D'INGERTHORPE (Cheltenham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Angels Of Sin / Les anges du péché / Angels of the Streets (1943) Region 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Compatible [DVD] (DVD)
This edition claims to be restored, though it seems a little dark, at least at first. The main thing, however, is that it has Korean & English sub-titles (either/or/none) not French sub-titles as described, so is more useful than it at first appears.
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