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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Exciting Than Batman To Me, 26 Jun. 2013
This review is from: A Man Escaped [DVD] (DVD)
"A Man Escaped," (1956). This is a classic of French cinema, a dramatic war story of just 100 minutes. In it, French director Robert Bresson - using a deceptively successful minimalist approach -- brings high drama to the screen. Bresson (Au Hasard Balthazar , Diary Of A Country Priest) is able to tell this true story of Andre Devigny, a French prisoner, and his single-minded determination to escape from a Nazi prison cell in occupied France during World War II, with great economy. To tell his tale of the Resistance, Bresson, who was awarded Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for the film, used amateur actors and little dialogue or music, while keeping his camera almost constantly focused on the prisoner's desperate bid for freedom. The director does use snatches of Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor, No.16 (K.427) -, the Kyrie, in a few scenes at the picture's beginning.

To ratchet up the suspense, on the same day that Devigny is condemned to death, he is given a new young cellmate. Must he kill the young man? Or, as he believes the escape will be easier done by two than by one, should the Resistance leader risk revealing his plans to someone who may be a Gestapo informer?

Bresson, who insisted on as much authenticity as he could get, based his screenplay on a memoir by Devigny. The former prisoner also served as advisor on the film, which was shot in the same Montluc prison in which Devigny had been held, in the vicinity of Lyon, where both Resistance and Gestapo were extremely active during the Occupation. Devigny even loaned Bresson, who had himself been a prisoner of war during WWII, the ropes and hooks he had used in his escape.

In reading about this movie, I expected to dislike it. Black and white, amateur actors, not even any music, virtually the entire picture filmed in a jailhouse. And then there's the title: if you know the prisoner escaped, how suspenseful can the film be? It was tremendously suspenseful, could barely tear my eyes away from it. Tremendously exciting. I'm sure that in film schools all over the globe, students are dissecting this motion picture, trying to figure out how it works. This, I am not qualified to do. All I can say is, I recently saw a Batman movie, with its computer generated effects. A MAN ESCAPED was more exciting.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Aug 2013 11:51:33 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Aug 2013 11:53:59 BDT
schumann_bg says:
Thank you for this and your White Ribbon review - wonderfully informative and thoughtful!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Aug 2013 12:43:39 BDT
Thank you so much for stopping to give me these kind words. I was very nervous in tackling these two art films,

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2013 01:47:52 BDT
schumann_bg says:
I don't think you should feel nervous! Amazon needs more reviewers like you, and so do art films!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Aug 2013 14:38:29 BDT
Schumann-bg, You are very kind, I began as a book reviewer, who, of course, loved movies. But I have no technical background in film at all. In fact, have just watched two more Bresson films that I don't think I can review,
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