Perhaps the quintessential Bresson film, and one of the essential works of world cinema, Diary of a Country Priest is the work which established the aesthetic austerity and metaphysical intensity of the director’s celebrated style. Based on a novel by Georges Bernanos, and featuring a cast of non-professionals (henceforth a Bresson hallmark), the film charts the odyssey of a young parish priest, self-doubting and dying of cancer, whose attempts to minister to the spiritual needs of his flock are met with utter indifference. Critics were awestruck by Bresson’s brilliance at filming the apparently unfilmable, at finding a cinematic language for the life of the spirit, for the story of a man’s interior development; some cited the work as a stunning return to expressive pictorial values not seen since silent cinema. Diary of a Country Priest truly bespeaks and epitomizes a cinema of grace. “A film of great purity and, at the end, a Bach-like intensity ... One of the few modern works in any art form that helps one understand the religious life” (Pauline Kael). “Bresson’s best film ... Every shot is as true as a handful of earth” (François Truffaut). B&W, 35mm, in French with English subtitles. 115 mins.
"A film that words fail."Los Angeles Times | full review
"The full scope of the film's brilliance hits you with the force of a knockout punch."Time Out | full review
"A film of great purity and, at the end, a Bach-like intensity."New Yorker | full review