Interview with Robert Bresson By Charles Thomas Samuels Paris, September 2, 1970 Bresson s livin!

room, where this interview too" pla#e, is almost too appropriate $or the most un#ompromisin!ly austere %ire#tor in $ilm history& white walls, tan #urtains an% upholstery, worn woo%en $loors, an% one spot o$ #olor #omin! $rom a $raye% patterne% ru! that must have been reti#ent oven in its hey%ay but was now

positively attenuate% in #ontra%i#tin! the !eneral pallor' In his mi%(si)ties, Bresson shows $ew si!ns o$ a!e *a sli!ht su!!estion o$ arthritis in the han%s+ but many o$ vi!or an% even o$ mo%ishness *he wears his white hair lon! an% %resses in ,meri#an(style sports #lothes+' -is most imposin! $eatures are i#y blue eyes that $lash with impatien#e, even when he smiles, at the apparent bi%%in! o$ some inner voi#e that seems always to be in

#ompetition with the voi#e o$ his interlo#utor' ,t one moment he %rums his $in!ers nervously on his #hair. at another, he seems totally absorbe% in the #onversation' ,ll shi$ts are re$le#te% in his eyes, whi#h never leave your $a#e, no matter how %istra#te% he may seem' /ur #onversation too" up an entire a$ternoon %urin! the perio% when Bresson was shootin! 0our 1i!hts o$ a 2reamer throu!h the ni!ht, wa"in! up aroun% mi%%ay, an%

Bresson prove% responsive an% arti#ulate' .%evotin! his a$ternoons to preparation' 2espite this !ruelin! s#he%ule an% the rustiness o$ his 3n!lish *a lan!ua!e. there were no lulls in the #onversation' SAMUELS: You've said you don't want to be called a . as he apolo!i4e%.s the len!th o$ the interview shows. that he rarely use% but a%opte% $or my #om$ort+.

metteur en scene but rather a metteur en ordre. $ilmma"in! is #ombinin! ima!es an% soun%s o$ real thin!s in an or%er that ma"es them e$$e#tive' 5hat I %isapprove o$ is photo!raphin! with that e)traor%inary instrument ( the #amera ( thin!s . Does this mean that you think the essence o ilm is editin! rather than sta!in!" BR3SS/1& 0or me.

that are not real' Sets an% a#tors are not real' S: #hat $uts you in the tradition o the silent% ilm% which could not rely on dialo!ue and there ore created its e ects throu!h editin!. a#tors . Do you a!ree that you are more like a silent than a sound ilm director" B& The silent %ire#tors usually employe% a#tors' 5hen the #inema be#ame vo#al.

be#ause at that time they were thou!ht the only ones able to spea"' . $or me. I sele#t him by . but my %ialo!ue must be very spe#ial ( not li"e the spee#hes hear% in a theater' 6oi#e. an% I #oul%n t %o without it' 1ow. is somethin! very important. when I #hoose someone to appear in one o$ my $ilms.were also use%. rather %i$$i#ult part o$ my wor" is to ma"e my nona#tors spea" normally' I %on t want to eliminate %ialo!ue *as in silent $ilms+.

B& 1o' I thin" that in other $ilms a#tors spea" as i$ they were onsta!e' . your eyes an% ears wor" to!ether rather ba%ly' The voi#e tells more about anyone than his physi#al presen#e' S: &ut in your ilms all the $eo$le s$eak with a sin!le% a &ressonian voice. the .means o$ the telephone.s a result. be$ore I see him' Be#ause in !eneral when you meet a person.

but what these wor%s an% !estures provo"e in them' 5hat I tell them to %o or say must brin! to li!ht somethin! they ha% not reali4e% they #ontaine%' The #amera #at#hes it. an% thus. they seem to be spea"in! in a sin!le new way' I want the essen#e o$ my $ilms to be not the wor%s my people say or even the !estures they per$orm. neither .au%ien#e is use% to theatri#al in$le#tions' That ma"es my nona#tors appear uni7ue.

they nor I really "now it be$ore it happens' The un"nown' S: ' it is true that your !oal is the mystery you drew out o your nonactors% can anyone besides you and them ully a$$reciate the result" B& I hope so' There are so many thin!s our eyes %on t see' But the #amera sees everythin!' 5e are too #lever. an% our #leverness plays us $alse' 5e shoul% trust mainly our $eelin!s .

ma4in!ly. those senses that never lie to us' /ur intelli!en#e %isturbs our proper vision o$ thin!s' S: You say you discover your mysteries in the $rocess o shootin!.. I %is#overe% it %urin! my $irst moments behin% the #amera' :y $irst $ilm was ma%e with pro$essional a#tors. an% . B& 8es' Be#ause what I ve 9ust tol% you was not somethin! I ha% planne% $or' ..

.when we ha% our $irst rehearsal I sai%. $rien% tol% me that in <ulien =reen s South she ha% to appear on the sta!e sayin!.It s . S: (n your second ilm% you had many )uarrels with Maria *asares. I am leavin!'. .I$ you !o on a#tin! an% spea"in! li"e this. &ut% you know% ' think her $er ormance in Les Dames du &ois de &oulo!ne B& .

I as"e% her to ta"e a se%ative instea%.rainin!. she was worrie% at the be!innin!' To !et #oura!e.. Be#ause ?es 2ames was not a tra!e%y. whi#h she willin!ly %i%' Then thin!s starte% to !o better' . her tra!e%ian s temperament ma%e her shout emphati#ally& . she use% to %rin" a little !lass o$ #o!na# be$ore a#tin!' 5hen I #han#e% to %is#over this. in 0ren#h.I''' l ''' pl''' eut>. il pleut' 2espite the simpli#ity o$ these wor%s.

S: Your ma+or characteristic as an editor is elli$sis. Do you leave more and more out in each version o a !iven scene% or do you instinctively elide thin!s while shootin!" B& I always shoot on the %an!erous line between showin! too mu#h an% not showin! enou!h' I try to wor" as i$ I were on a ti!htrope with a pre#ipi#e at either si%e' .

hat ' want to know% however% is whether you consciously eliminate thin!s durin! editin! or instinctively eliminate thin!s as you !o alon!. it is there $rom the be!innin!' /ne %ay I sai%. . -ut this another way: Did you eliminate as much in your earlier ilms" B& I have always been the same' I %on t #reate ellipsis. I want to e)press thin!s with a minimum .Cinema is the art o$ showin! nothin!'.S: .

tremely elli$tical manner ba le even the educated viewer" *an anyone !et all the thin!s you merely sketch in" B& :any %o' . Doesn't your e. showin! nothin! that is not absolutely essential' S: Doesn't that make your ilms too di icult" ''m not even thinkin! o the avera!e viewer.o$ means.

when they see what you #all my ellipti#al $ilms. sin#e they $in% none in my $ilms. they are %isturbe%' Ba% #riti#s say I am inhuman an% #ol%' 5hy@ Be#ause they are use% to a#tin!.S: Aren't you worried about bein! too rare ied" B& 1o' -ere is the problem& The publi# is e%u#ate% to a #ertain "in% o$ $ilm' There$ore. they say I am empty' .

n% I lo#" mysel$ into mysel$ be#ause o$ten it seems that . B& Thin!s are always %i$$i#ult' .S: Let me ask you about your actors now. /ules 0oy wrote an article about A Man Esca$ed in which he said that you never $aid attention to your associates% that you were always locked into yoursel % and that whenever you aced sim$le and di icult means toward a !iven end% you always chose the di icult.

' also noticed that you make use o accidents. I ma"e mista"es' S: ' noticed when ' saw you shootin! 1our 2i!hts o a Dreamer on the -ont 2eu that you were walkin! around% i!norin! everyone% and continuously $eerin! at the shootin! area between two in!ers. 1or e.some o$ the others are a!ainst me' I $in% that when I %on t$le% a $asserby walked behind your actors while they .

B& It s possible' S: You would use such an accident% wouldn't you" B& 8es' In Pi#"po#"et I %eliberately shot the lon! se7uen#e at the railroa% station %urin!rush hour so as to be able to #apture all the a##i%ental o##urren#es' I #ourte% the .were $er ormin!% yet you did not instruct the cameraman to sto$ shootin!.

so I stop. sometimes the $irst' Sometimes the shot I thin" the best is the worst. 3ow do the actors res$ond" B& Sometimes they rea#t ba%ly. sometimes the thir% shot is the best.reality o$ the #row% throu!h the impe%iments they pla#e% be$ore my #amera' S: 't is said that you shoot every scene many times. sometimes the shot that seems worst when I $ilm I later learn is e)a#tly .

I %is#over that what I ha% not sou!ht is in $a#t what I ha% always wante%' I must a%% that lately I %on t shoot so many ta"es' .what I wante%' I re7uire $rom a shot somethin! I am not $ully #ons#ious o$ when photo!raphin!' 5hen we are e%itin!. I tell my e%itor to sear#h $or what I remember as havin! been the most su##ess$ul ta"e. an% as he is runnin! the $ilm throu!h the ma#hine.

he i%enti$ie% e)a#tly with the hero o$ the $ilm& somehow a little lost in the worl% but very sensitive an% #lever. I thin" he is marvelous' 3)traor%inarily. he be#ame nearly as !oo% a pi#"po#"et as the pro$essional I employe% to tea#h him' The . with an in#re%ible manual talent' .s a result.S: A common criticism o -ick$ocket is that Martin Lassalle ails because he isn't enou!h o an actor. B& 1o.

only %i$$i#ulty I ha% with him is that he ha% a Aru!uayan a##ent. I mean. . whi#h we su##ee%e% in #orre#tin!' S: Accordin! to one o your interviews% in A Man Esca$ed you hel$ed Leterrier to !ive a !ood $er ormance throu!h mechanical means. as I sai% be$ore.hat were they" B& By . wor%s an% !estures' Be#ause I tell my a#tors to .me#hani#al.

.spea" an% move me#hani#ally' 0or I am usin! these !estures an% wor%s ( whi#h they %o not interpret ( to %raw out o$ them what I want to appear on s#reen' S: 1or you% the nonactor is raw material 4 like $aint. B& But pre#ious raw material' S: You've said you don't even let him see the rushes.

nine times out o$ ten. an% $or the same reason I never use the same person twi#e. be#ause the se#on% time he woul% try %eliberately to !ive me what he thou!ht I wante%' I %on t even permit the husban% o$ a nona#tress to see rushes be#ause he woul% evaluate her per$orman#e an% then she woul% try to improve it' . are automati#' The ways you are #rossin! your .nyway. me#hani#s are essential' /ur !estures.B& That is true.

without reali4in! any pro!ram. . I tol% my nona#tors..le!s an% hol%in! your hea% are not voluntary !estures' :ontai!ne has a marvelous #hapter on han%s in whi#h he says that han%s !o where their owner %oes not sen% them' I %on t want my nona#tors to thin" o$ what they %o' 8ears a!o. an% that moment was the be!innin! o$ my style' .2on t thin" o$ what you are sayin! or %oin!.

S: #his is very interestin!. B& 3ven as early as ?es 2ames %u Bois %e Boulo!ne I tol% the a#tors to thin" about anythin! they wante% e)#ept their per$orman#es' /nly then %i% I hear in their voi#es that in$le#tion *so unli"e theatri#al . You seem to be talkin! about what is now known as body lan!ua!e. Scientists are now writin! books about the meanin! o involuntary !estures.

in$le#tionB& the in$le#tion o$ a real human voi#e' In three( 7uarters o$ a person s a#tivities. B& It use% to be true. as I tol% you. but it isn t anymore' Perhaps I have !rown la4y' . I sometimes #hoose my . his min% %oes not parti#ipate.n% impru%ently. an% that is what I am tryin! to #apture' S: You once said you choose your actors only a ter talkin! to them or a lon! time.

nona#tors as a result o$ a phone #all' , voi#e #alls me up an% says, ;I hear you are loo"in! $or a !irl to star in your $ilm,; I listen to that voi#e, an% I say to mysel$, ;The role is hers'; That s the way I #hose 2omini7ue San%a $or Ane 0emme %ou#e' S: Do you work this way now because you are so sure o yoursel that you can !et what you want out o anyone"

B& 8es, I am sure o$ mysel$, but, you "now , a human bein! has so many #ontra%i#tions an% o%%ities that I #an never be entirely sure that I ve #hosen the ri!ht person' S: You have o ten e.$ressed contem$t or $sycholo!y. Yet you kee$ talkin! about the mystery o $ersonality in ways that sound $sycholo!ical. ,hat's the di erence between what you want to understand

and what the $sycholo!ist wants to understand" B& The psy#holo!ist %is#overs only what he #an e)plain' I e)plain nothin!' S: You are a $erson with no $reconce$tions. B& 1one at all' S: ,hereas $sycholo!y is a closed system% whose $remises dictate its method. #here ore%

it discovers evidence in su$$ort o a $ree. even thou!h I am not 7uite aware o$ it' But o$ #ourse.istin! theory o human behavior. B& I$ I su##ee% at all. I %on t always su##ee%' In any #ase. I suppose some o$ what I show on the s#reen will be psy#holo!i#ally vali%. I never want to e)plain anythin!' The trouble with most $ilms is that they e)plain everythin!' .

Am ' ri!ht in sayin! that you $ursue mystery without worryin! that the audience will be ba led because you believe . $ilm %oesn t !ive its best the $irst time' S: ' think that many o your ideas are a conse)uence o your *hristianity. one must see it at least twi#e' .S: #hat's why one can !o back to your ilms. B& I$ there is somethin! !oo% in a $ilm.

as you #all it' S: Do you believe that there is anybody that does not . B& /$ #ourse' 5hat I am very pretentiously tryin! to #apture is this essential soul.that we all $artake o one essential soul" B& /$ #ourse' /$ #ourse' S: So that every viewer is undamentally the same viewer.

on a %i$$erent s#ale. I %on t share . he is not' Besi%es.$artake in this essential soul or e. there are no real atheists' S: .am$le% is an atheist outside your audience" B&1o. that attra#ts me in 2ostoyevs"y' Both writers are sear#hin! $or the soul' In $a#t.hat attracted you to &ernanos" B& I was attra#te% by the same thin!.

Bernanos $aith an% style' But in every boo" o$ his there are spar"s. remar"able insi!hts. that are very pe#uliar an% that you %o not $in% in other writers' In 2iary o$ a Country Priest there are many su#h spar"s' S: Most o your ilms are ada$tations.hy did you create both story and scri$t or -ick$ocket and Au hasard% &altha5ar " . .

B& In the latter #ase. but I always wante% to ma"e this $ilm' 8ou may re#all that in 2ostoyevs"y s The I%iot Prin#e :yshl%n says he re#overe% his !oo% spirits by seein! a %on"ey in the mar"etpla#e' Pi#"po#"et is another matter' I have always li"e% manual %e)terity an%. I #an answer the 7uestion simply' /ne %ay I saw very #learly a %on"ey as the #enter o$ a $ilm. but the ne)t %ay that ima!e $a%e% away' I ha% to wait a lon! time $or it to return. .

when youn!. et#' I ve never un%erstoo% intelle#tuals who put %e)terity asi%e' S: Everythin! you say $oints to your belie that the human mind isn't enou!h. B& /ur senses tell us more than our intelli!en#e' S: 'sn't it ironic that you are known as an intellectual director" ' have always . 9u!!le%. ma%e balan#in! toys.

an% that I stu%ie% paintin! at the 3#ole %es Beau)( .rts ( also not true ( but this "in% o$ error appears in nearly every a##ount o$ my #areer' /$ #ourse.thou!ht you $ro oundly emotional. whi#h is not true. B& :ost o$ what is sai% about me is wron! an% is repeate% eternally' /n#e somebo%y sai% that I wor"e% as an assistant %ire#tor to Rene Clair. the worst mista"es .

am$le% you made #he #rial o /oan o Arc to see i one could make a ilm that was only )uestions and answers. 1or e. B& I li"e e)er#ise $or its own sa"e' That is why I re!ar% my $ilms as attempts rather than a##omplishments' People .#on#ern my i%eas an% my way o$ wor"in!' S: You've said that your ilms are sometimes solutions to technical $roblems.

it simply %oesn t move aroun% in a blatant manner' It is too easy.always as" me about the motivation o$ my #hara#ters. $or instan#e. to pan a#ross it ( or to . never about the arran!ement o$ shots' S: You seem more interested in $uttin! shots to!ether than in movin! the camera. to %es#ribe a room. when you want. B& 1o' :y #amera is never stationary.

whereas the eye is $rivolous. ima!inative. too easily satis$ie%' The ear is a#tive. our eye %oesn t pro#ee% li"e that' S: You told 6odard that you $re er as o ten as $ossible to re$lace ima!e by sound. . whereas the eye is passive' 5hen you hear a .ll that is arti$ you are in #hur#h by tiltin! upwar% in a spiralin! $ashion' .hy" B& Be#ause the ear is pro$oun%.

instantly you ima!ine its #ause' The soun% o$ a train whistle #on9ures up the whole station' The eye #an per#eive only what is presente% to it' S: .noise at ni!ht.ould you $re er workin! in a medium where you could eliminate ima!es" B& 1o. I want both ima!e an% soun%' S: You +ust want to !ive the latter $redominance" .

B& 8es' S: 3ow do you $re$are your sound tracks" B& There are two "in%s o$ soun% in my $ilms& soun%s whi#h o##ur %urin! shootin! an% those I a%% later' 5hat I a%% is more important. be#ause I treat these soun%s as i$ they were a#tors' 0or e)ample. when you !o into the street an% hear a hun%re% #ars passin!. what you thin" .

be#ause i$ you re#or%e% it by means o$ a ma!netophone. you woul% $in% that the soun% was a mere 9umble' So when I have to re#or% the soun% o$ #ars. but what I thin" I hear' S: 'n this way you can re lect the mind o the character. 1or . I !o to the #ountry an% re#or% every sin!le #ar in pure silen#e' Then I mi) all these soun%s in a way that #reates not what I hear in the hear is not what you hear.

B& 8es' In that $ilm $ree%om is represente% by the soun%s o$ li$e outsi%e' S: 'n view o your em$hasis on sound% why do you avoid music"$le% in A Man Esca$ed the am$li ied sounds o keys and trams etc. re lect the su$ersensitive hearin! o a man in $rison.

B& Be#ause musi# ta"es you into another realm' I am always astonishe% when I see a $ilm in whi#h a$ter the #hara#ters are $inishe% spea"in! the musi# be!ins' 8ou "now. as in :ou#hette. be#ause I want to ta"e the au%ien#e out o$ the $ilm into . only at the en%. this sort o$ musi# saves many $ilms. you must avoi% it' I #on$ess that I too ma%e mista"es with musi# in my early $ilms' But now I use musi#. but i$ you want your $ilm to be true.

another realm.hy did you suddenly move to color in Une 1emme douce" B& Be#ause su%%enly I ha% money $or it' S: Did the new techni)ue $roduce any s$ecial $roblems" . that is the reason $or :ontever%i s :a!ni$i#at' S: .

B& 8es' Sin#e the $irst rule o$ art is unity. you pro%u#e more power$ul shots in it than are possible in bla#" an% white' In Ane 0emme %ou#e I starte% with the #olor o$ 2omini7ue San%a s s"in an% harmoni4e% everythin! to it' S: #he si!ht o her nude lesh is one o the most im$ortant in the ilm. . #olor threatens you be#ause its e$$e#ts are too various' -owever. i$ you #an #ontrol an% uni$y the #olor.

B& I am also usin! nu%ity in 0our 1i!hts o$ a 2reamer' I am not at all a!ainst nu%ity so lon! as the bo%y is beauti$ul. only when the bo%y is u!ly is its nu%ity obs#ene' It is li"e "issin!' I #an t bear to see people "issin! on the s#reen' Can you@ S: #hat's why you sometimes have your characters kiss each other's hands" .

B& 8es' Perhaps' S: 't ha$$ens in Au hasard% &altha5ar. 'n those many beauti ul shots in which Marie embraces the head o the donkey% were you thinkin! o the common i!ure that a$$ears in 0enaissance ta$estries o the 7ir!in and the unicorn" B& 1o' The resemblan#e is a##i%ental' . ' wanted to ask a )uestion about that.

hat do you think is the *hristian element in Les Dames du &ois de &oulo!ne" B& I never loo" $or a Christian meanin!' I$ it #omes. it #omes' S: &ut this is the only one o your ilms that seems wholly secular.S: You've said that the whole universe is *hristian and that no story is more *hristian than any other. . .

Co#teau %i% very little' I initially wrote all the %ialo!ue mysel$. but I suppose you are ri!ht' S: Did you and *octeau a!ree com$letely when you were workin! on the scri$t" B& 8ou "now. retainin! as mu#h o$ 2i%erot as I #oul%. but inventin! the story o$ the two women whom -elene uses' .B& I never thou!ht about it mu#h.

n% sin#e he was Co#teau an% I was not "nown as a writer.Their behavior an% what happens to them in my $ilm aren t in 2i%erot' 5hat I nee%e% Co#teau $or was to help me blen% 2i%erot s %ialo!ue with my own' This he %i% ma!ni$i#ently in ten minutes. out o$ $rien%ship $or me' . I as"e% him to ta"e #re%it $or the %ialo!ue' S: Actually% as is well known% your ada$tation o Diderot .

Diderot's story is comic and em$hasi5es class distinctions. .chan!es the s$irit o the tale com$letely. an% I nee%e% an a%aptation be#ause pro%u#ers are more %i$$i#ult about ori!inal s#ripts' I a%mire% the story o$ :a%ame %e la Pommeraye $rom <a#7ues le $ataliste be#ause it was well #onstru#te% an% %ramati#.hy did you want to ilm this i you didn't intend to ilm it as written" B& It was my se#on% $ilm. not .

#omi# as you seem to thin"' I merely use% his basi# situation an% mu#h o$ his %ialo!ue. a%%in! #hara#ters. an% so $orth to ma"e a $ilm about thin!s that %i% interest me' S: .hy did you chan!e the $eriod and brin! the story u$ to date" B& Be#ause I thin" that #ostume %rama violates the essen#e o$ #inema. s#enes. whi#h is imme%ia#y' The perio% I was able to #han!e .

as it deliberate" 1or e. .am$le% when /ean comes to ask 3elene to arran!e a .be#ause $eelin!s ( unli"e #lothes ( %on t #han!e $rom #entury to #entury' S: You say always that you're a demon or truth% yet this ilm is obviously styli5ed. B& But style !oes very well with truth' S: ' ind symbolism in this ilm.

3elene is re)uently seen in ront o mirrors% su!!estin! what is true: that there are two 3elenes% the sel she . B& I %on t remember i$ I meant it that way' I never loo" $or symbolism' S: #ake another instance.meetin! with A!nes% 3elene stands in ront o the ire$lace su$$ressin! her +ealousy% but we see it re lected in the ra!in! ire at her side.

everythin! important is instin#tive' /ne mustn t plan every %etail in a%van#e' I a!ree with 6alery& /ne wor"s to surprise onesel$' S: #here are many more ades in Diary o a *ountry -riest . B& That wasn t %eliberate.$retends and the one she really is. lu#"ily. but you tea#h me now what I ou!ht to have %one or what I %i% without reali4in! it' Be#ause you see.

s a !eneral . Are you deliberate about the number and kind o transitions" 'n Une 1emme douce there are no ades at all.s I have always sai%. to pro%u#e a $a%e in a #olor $ilm. but the way they have been 9oine%' .than in Les Dames du &ais de &aulo!ne. an% that %estroys the 7uality o$ the shot' . you have to superimpose one ne!ative over another. B& Be#ause more an% more I try to be 7ui#"' :oreover. a $ilm is not its shots.

' you remade the ilm now% would you eliminate such shots" .on#e tol% me. a battle o##urs very o$ten at the point where two maps tou#h' S: You o ten said that you don't like s$ectacle. 1or$le: *hantal's white ace hoverin! in the blackness o the con essional or the $riest $assin! beside that ma!ni icent tree. 3owever% Diary o a *ountry -riest is s$ectacular.

bsolutely' Those thin!s attra#te% me at the time' /ne nee%s mu#h more e)perien#e than I ha% to eliminate su#h nonessentials' The most important shots $or me in that $ilm were those in whi#h you see the priest writin! in the %iary' .B& . as he pronoun#es the very wor%s that he is writin! %own' . i$ you li"e.t those moments one sees the #onta#t between his soul an%. the worl% o$ matter.

1or e. As a result% we see how humble he is% how unaware o his own su erin!. .8 &ut his ace shows that he is dyin!.S: (n other occasions% when he is s$eakin! but not writin!% you obtain marvelous e$le% we see him di$$in! bread into wine as he says% 8' am able to take some bread with wine because ' am eelin! better.

' didn't invent it..I am !oin! to %ie. the more he su!!ests' The #ombination o$ the wine an% the brea% an% the nona#tor s $a#e *with a minimum o$ !esture+ su!!ests that he is !oin! to %ie' -e %oes not have to say so' I$ he a#te% . .B& ?et me tell you somethin!' 5hat you saw in that shot you invente%' The less the nona#tor %oes. it woul% be aw$ul' S: You said ' 8invented8 it.

.B& 1o. the listener brin! to it' S: #here is a di erence between value and meanin!. or a pie#e o$ musi# ( none o$ these thin!s has an absolute value' The value is what the viewer. boo". the rea%er. a paintin!.e can disa!ree about the . you $elt it' S: Don't you see% 8invent8 is the wron! word" B& .

8 .value o a ilm and still a!ree on what it means. #hat's not the ault o the ilm. B& There are people who when seein! 2iary o$ a Country Priest $eel nothin!' S: &ut that's their ault. #here is a 6erman $roverb: 8' a +ackass stares into a mirror% a $hiloso$her can't look back.

B& An$ortunately. the publi# is use% to easy $ilms' :ore an% more this is true' S: #hen you are su erin! rom lack o comrades. B& I have always sai% that the worl% o$ #inema ou!ht to be or!ani4e% li"e the worl% o$ paintin! %urin! the . ' there were more directors makin! su!!estive ilms like yours% the $ublic would be able to understand better.

so that apprenti#es mi!ht learn their #ra$t' To%ay a man assists now this. now that %ire#tor.Renaissan#e. an% learns nothin!' S: 'n Diary o a *ountry -riest or the irst time 4 B& 8ou are ri!ht. this is the $irst $ilm in whi#h I starte% to un%erstan% what I was %oin!' S: ' had in mind somethin! more s$eci ic that one also sees in Une 1emme douce% but .

above all in -ick$ocket. &e ore a character enters a $lace or a ter he e.its rom it% the camera holds on the set. B& 5here@ 5hat %o you mean@ S: 'n Diary o a *ountry -riest he rides his bicycle to the house o the &isho$ o #orcey. 3e enters the house% and you hold outside the house. 't ha$$ens re$eatedly in -ick$ocket.

B& I %on t remember' S: ''ll !ive a more recent$le. 'n Une 1emme douce the cou$le comes into the house% and the camera remains on the door. #hen they walk u$stairs% and the camera holds on the landin!. ,e see the door to their a$artment be ore they o$en it and a ter they close it etc. You weren't conscious o this"

B& /$ #ourse, I was #ons#ious, but I never remember what I have %one later' ?et me tell you somethin! about %oors' Criti#s say, ; Bresson is impossible& -e shows $i$ty %oors openin! an% #losin!;. but you must un%erstan% that the %oor o$ the apartment is where all the %rama o##urs' The %oor either says, ;I am !oin! away or I am #omin! to you'; 5hen I ma%e ?es 2ames %u Bois %e Boulo!ne, I was also a##use% o$ showin! too many %oors' ,n%

In other $ilms you see a %oor be#ause it 9ust happens to be there..whereas in your $ilms it is there on purpose' 0or that reason ea#h %oor is seen. . S: You say that you irst discovered yoursel in Diary o a *ountry -riest.Co#teau sai% I was #riti#i4e% $or bein! too pre#ise' . . he sai%. . whereas in other $ilms the %oor is s#ar#ely noti#e%'.as $art o that discovery the use o commentary" .

I %epen%e% on #ommentary' S: ' want to ask some )uestions about A Man Esca$ed% which% by the way% seems to me your !reatest ilm. I shoul%n t have use% #ommentary in my ne)t $ilm. 'ncidentally% does that +ud!ment u$set you" .B& Perhaps' But you "now. . :an 3s#ape%' Sin#e it was virtually a silent $ilm an% sin#e it re7uire% some rhythm.

B& I %on t "now how to ma"e su#h #omparisons' But there may be somethin! in what you say' 5hen I $inishe% it. an% $or that reason . an impulse to write %own everythin! I $elt about the art o$ $ilmma"in!. :an 3s#ape% is pre#ious to me' . I ha% no i%ea about its value' 8et I ha%. $or the $irst time in my li$e.

S: You have been workin! on this book or a lon! time. thin!s I wrote %own while shootin! or on some other o##asion' S: A Man Esca$ed shares with #he #rial o /oan o Arc an im$lication o 1rench . . on #i!arette wrappers.hen will it be $ublished" B& I haven t wor"e% at it mu#h' I have no time to $inish it' It is prin#ipally a !atherin! o$ notes on little pie#es o$ paper.

the prisoner #oul% have been a youn! .meri#an or a 6ietnamese' I was intereste% only in the min% o$ someone who wishes to es#ape without outsi%e help' S: #he $roblem is more serious in #he #rial o /oan o Arc% in which you use certain historical acts and i!nore others. 1or$le% in one . Did you want that" B& 1o.

&ut you don't show that. the 3n!lish bishop is intelli!ent an% re$ine%' S: Your ilms are the astest ilms made% but $eo$le say that you are slow. Moreover% you make the &ritish characters $articularly stu$id. . B& 1ot stupi% but rather brutal' In%ee%. at the stake was &ritish.tradition% the soldier who o ered /oan a cruci i.

am$le% ' can't ima!ine anyone catchin! everythin! in Au hasard% &altha5ar.B& Be#ause my #hara#ters %on t 9ump about an% s#ream' S: #he most serious criticism that can be made a!ainst you is that you are too ast. ' have seen the ilm twice% and ' still can't understand what ha$$ens in that scene. . 1or e. *onsider the in)uisition o 6erard at the $olice station.

rsene thin" that . It is also important be#ause in the ne)t s#ene the boy tries to ma"e . is also the mur%erer that the poli#e are loo"in! $or' .B&I only wante% to show that a #rime ha% o##urre% an% that the boy was 7uestione% by the poli#e' The s#ene shows the stupi%ity an% vanity o$ the boy an% o$ his #omra%es' The poli#e #aptain says.In prison $or stupi%ity>. .rsene. who is a tramp.

. an% su#h $alsity woul% stop the $ilm' .$erience o bein! in $rison% you never show the brutality.S: #o return to A Man Esca$ed: #hou!h you create very well the e. You only show him a terward.hy" B& Be#ause it woul% be $alse to show the beatin! sin#e the au%ien#e "nows that the a#tor isn t really bein!$le% you don't show 1ontaine bein! beaten. 1or e.

:oreover, this is what it was li"e when I was a prisoner o$ the =ermans' /n#e I hear% someone bein! whippe% throu!h a %oor, an% then I hear% the bo%y $all' That was ten times worse than i$ I ha% seen the whippin!' 5hen you see 0ontaine with his bloo%y $a#e bein! brou!ht ba#" to the #ell, you are $or#e% to ima!ine the aw$ulness o$ the beatin! ( whi#h ma"es it very power$ul 0urthermore, i$ I showe% him bein! ta"en $rom his #ell, bein!

beaten, then bein! returne%, it woul% ta"e mu#h too lon!' S: #here is another wonder ul e ect o concentration in this scene: 1ontaine says% 8A ter three days ' was able to move a!ain%8 althou!h only a ew seconds o ilm time have $assed. #his su!!ests how )uickly he restores himsel and how much coura!e he has.

B& That is very important' -is will to !o on establishes a rhythm o$ ine)orability that tou#hes the publi#' 5hen men !o to war, military musi# is ne#essary, be#ause musi# has a rhythm an% rhythm implants i%eas' S: ,henever we see the window in 1ontaine's cell% it !lows like a +ewel. ,as that a s$ecial e ect"

. but I %o remember that I wor"e% with my #inemato!rapher to obtain 9ust the ri!ht %e!ree o$ li!ht $rom both win%ow an% %oor' S: #here is one thin! in the ilm that seems uncharacteristic in its $atness..hen 1ontaine is sentenced% the scene takes $lace at the 3otel #erminus.. .B& 1o. .

ll o$ the #hara#ters a#tions ta"e pla#e e)a#tly where they o##urre% in real li$e' .B& 3very #ity in 0ran#e ha% su#h a hotel where the =estapo staye% %urin! the o##upation' S: You didn't desire the $un" B& /$ #ourse not' 3verythin! in this $ilm is absolutely $a#tual' I ha% no trouble inventin! %etails an% was $amiliar with the history o$ the pla#e' .

n%re 2evi!ny. 't seems to me that here you really attain it because althou!h the title tells us that he will esca$e% the ilm is very sus$ense ul.S: You search or mystery in your ilms. -ere is another mystery& . B& The important thin! is not .how'. I invente% the %ialo!ue with the youn! boy who is $inally brou!ht to 0ontaine s #ell' 5hen I rea% it .i$. but .lthou!h every %etail o$ the $ilm #ame $rom the report o$ .

to 2evi!ny. I wante% to #all the $ilm .-elp 8oursel$. I was very worrie% about his rea#tion' 2o you "now what he sai%@ . as 2evi!ny tol% me. be#ause in the a#tual event. This shows that truth #an be %i$$erent $rom reality.-ow true>. I show 0ontaine %ominatin! the boy' 8ou "now. an% that s why I showe% 2evi!ny as . he behave% as i$ the boy were a woman he nee%e% to se%u#e in or%er to ma"e !oo% his es#ape' In my $ilm.. on the other han%.

1or e. ' could !o on.t cell that his own attem$t to esca$e is bein! made or the old man% too% or the moments when a community is achieved by means o men ta$$in! on the$le% when 1ontaine tells the old man in the ne.%ominatin! in the last s#enes' -elp yoursel$ an% =o% will help you' S: #here are other !reat moments in the ilm. #his ilm is your !reatest% ' think% not .

B& :ou#hette is ri#h. too> S: ' would $lace Mouchette with A Man Esca$ed amon! your !reatest ilms. B& But it seems to me there is a little too mu#h spe#ta#le in :ou#hette' .because it is technically su$erior to the others but because it is richer in content.

*onversely% -ick$ocket% which is an ori!inal% a$$ears to be ins$ired by *rime and -unishment.S: You added a lot to the &ernanos novel in Mouchette.cuse or the crime and thus . 'n *rime and -unishment% whether +usti iably or not% 0askolnikov thinks o his crime as bene itin! humanity and thus earns a measure o sym$athy. 1or the viewer aware o this $arallel% there is a $roblem in -ick$ocket. Your hero has no e.

B& 8es.seems a little $retentious in his desire to be taken as a su$erior bein!. but he is aware that pi#"po#"etin! is very %i$$i#ult an% %an!erous' -e is ta"en with the thrill o$ that' -e is pretentious perhaps. he hates or!ani4e% so#iety' . li"e Ras"olni"ov. but on 7uite a lesser s#ale' ?i"e Ras"olni"ov.n% I am sure you "now that 2ostoyevs"y too" the i%ea o$ his novel $rom :a) Stirner s .

an% . at any rate. These are a !oo% en#oura!ement to pi#"po#"etin!. espe#ially the latter senten#e' .5hat am I le!itimately allowe% to %o@ . so $ar as I m #on#erne%. e)ten% as $ar as I #an e)ten% my arm'.ll that I am able to. thou!h that is perhaps not the a#tual title o$ the boo"' The 0ren#h version. #ontains senten#es li"e these& .2er 3in4i!e un% sein 3i!entum. whi#h is #alle% ? Ani7ue et so propriete.:y ri!hts.

$lore with you is the emotional $roblem or the s$ectator. B& I never thin" o$ the spe#tator' S: &ut you can see that your hero mi!ht a$$ear unsym$athetic.S: .hat ' am tryin! to e. B& -e is unsympatheti#' 5hy not@ .

As we see the hero stealin!% we don't know his motive% but toward the end o the ilm we ind out that he $reviously stole rom his mother.S: ' am also $u55led% in view o your uninterest in $sycholo!y% at the heavy $sycholo!ical em$hasis in this ilm. Let me e. .e then reali5e his $sycholo!ical motivation9 he stole rom his mother% elt !uilty about that% was ashamed to con ess to her% and% there ore% commits .$lain.

I present the e$$e#t be$ore the #ause' I thin" this is a !oo% i%ea be#ause it in#reases the mystery .s 2ostoyevs"y $re7uently %oes.crimes so as to be $unished and ul ill his need or $enitence. to witness events without "nowin! why they are o##urrin! ma"es you %esire to $in% out the reason' . but only a psy#hiatrist woul% e)plain it li"e that' . B& Perhaps.

.S: &ut this doesn't answer my )uestion.hy" B& 8ou thin" it s psy#holo!i#al@ I %i%n t mean it to be' I simply showe% a man pi#"in! po#"ets until he was arreste%' I in#lu%e% the $a#t that he stole $rom his mother simply to provi%e . 3ere% in the irst o your ilms rom an ori!inal story% you% who $ro ess to dislike $sycholo!y% are at your most $sycholo!ical.

be#ause the inspe#tor li"e% to torture him ( as in that lon! s#ene.evi%en#e the poli#e nee%e% in or%er to be put on his tra#"' S: 'n other words% you didn't $ut it in as e.$lanation but rather as $lot device" B& 8es' It is only to ma"e the #hie$ o$ poli#e #ertain that :artin is a thie$' 5hat intereste% me is the power this !ave the inspe#tor. where the hero %oesn t "now how mu#h .

B& /n the #ontrary.In#ertitu%e'. I ori!inally wante% to #all the $ilm .the inspe#tor "nows' In $a#t. I ma"e him aware o$ the presen#e o$ =o% $or three minutes' 0ew people #an say they were aware o$ =o% . S: #here is somethin! else ' rather doubt you wanted in the ilm. #he hero o your ilm is a criminal in two ways: 3e is a thie % and he denies 6od.

my wi$e an% I atten%e% the servi#e alone' Somehow this 2ies Irae ma%e a stran!e impression on me. it shows that althou!h in$luen#e% by 2ostoyevs"y. I . apart $rom ten nuns. where.even that lon!' This line o$ %ialo!ue is very personal. a sin!er sin!s the 2ies Irae in e)a#tly the same simple way another sin!er san! it at my mother s $uneral in the Cathe%ral o$ 1antes.t his mother s $uneral. I ma%e my story bene$it $rom my own e)perien#es' .

li"e my pi#"po#"et. ' didn't even know you were married% and it was a !reat sur$rise when your wi e came to the door. S: #his raises another )uestion. . You are amous or maintainin! your $rivacy.$erience% althou!h i you . 'sn't -ick$ocket a !ame o hide4and4seek since% accordin! to you% it re lects so much o your $ersonal e.I $elt =o% %urin! three minutes'.#oul% have sai% then.

hadn't told me% ' wouldn't have known it" B& I hate publi#ity' /ne shoul% be "nown $or what he %oes. not $or what he is' 1owa%ays a painter paints a ba% paintin!. but he tal"s about it until it be#omes $amous' -e paints $or $ive minutes an% tal"s about it on television $or $ive years' S: #hat reminds me o 6odard. 3e makes bad ilms% .

B& -is $ilms are interestin!' -e upsets the o$$i#ial #inema. whi#h #ares only $or pro$its' -e tau!ht $ilms how to use %isor%er' S: Don't you think his $ur$ose is more im$ortant than the individual results 4 which aren't very !ood" .but he de ends them so interestin!ly.

I %on t li"e his $$le% in the o$enin! scene where the hero steals the $urse% the $eo$le at the racetrack are $reternaturally calm. he ma"es the best that #an be seen' S: (n this matter o your 5eal or truth: #here are moments in -ick$ocket which seem to me to be true only to your $eculiar style. 1or e.B& 5hen he uses pro$essional a#tors. ' can't . but when he %oesn t.

so that one #oul% hear the #res#en%o o$ the horses !allopin!' . I wante% it to happen in silen#e. B& But not every part o$ a ra#etra#" #row% rea#ts in the same way' There are always #ertain people who wat#h impassively' I %i%n t want him to #ommit his the$t when people were shoutin!.believe that $eo$le watch a race so im$assively.

S: &ut such a scene% even amon! sym$athetic viewers% raises the )uestion o whether we are seein! truth in your ilms or the re lection o a very deliberate and $ersonal style. I want to ma"e thin!s so #on#entrate% an% so uni$ie% that . ' ask mysel that )uestion occasionally in -ick$ocket and almost always in #he #rial o /oan o Arc. it is my $ault' :y style is natural to me' 8ou see. B& I$ that happens.

an% unity' S: .hen ' watched #he #rial o /oan o Arc% however% ' ound mysel interested 4 moved% i you will 4 not by the dialo!ue and characters but by your subtle method o .the spe#tator $eels as i$ he has seen one sin!le moment' I #ontrol all spee#h an% !esture so as to pro%u#e an ob9e#t that is in%ivisible' Be#ause I believe that one moves an au%ien#e only throu!h rhythm. #on#entration.

am$le% you indicate that /oan has scored a $oint by kee$in! the camera on her when *auchon is res$ondin!. . Aidin! this% o course% was the !reat amiliarity o the trial itsel .crosscuttin!: the way% or e. B& It s a pity you %i%n t hear it in your own lan!ua!e' S: Even so% my 1rench is !ood enou!h so that ' !ot most o it.

B& But. you "now. B& ?oo". I am even surprise% that you were able to sit throu!h the $ilm' Its e$$e#t %epen%s so mu#h on subtlety o$ %ialo!ue. whi#h is sai% so rapi%ly. her wor%s are very subtle' S: Even so% they seemed to me less subtle than your editin!% which be!an to re$lace the words as my ob+ect o interest. that i$ you were su$$i#iently #au!ht by the rhythms to li"e the $ilm .

'n any case% you once said what im$ressed you most about /oan was her youth.even when you #oul%n t $ully $ollow the %ialo!ue. Since she . ' think here your interest in techni)ue is subvertin! the story. I m very please%' S: Yes% but ' think that interest in the editin! rhythms con licts with interest in the dialo!ue 4 that is% interest in techni)ue re$laces interest in content.

whi#h is why she is %resse% as she is' S: ' have always been $ut o /oan by her a amous i!ure o rebellion% were you thinkin! o any analo!ies between her and contem$orary youth" B& 1ot e)a#tly. ' mean% what i a anatic . but I wante% to ma"e her seem as similar to youn! !irls now as I #oul%.

believes in somethin! you ind terrible" B& I un%erstan% this $eelin!. #his story is so amiliar% so . she is the most e)traor%inary person who ever live%' I ma%e the $ilm to see what woul% happen when I ha% a youn! !irl say the wor%s <oan a#tually sai%' S: ' wondered about that.r# was not a $anati#' She wante% to save her #ountry' 0or me. but I %on t share it' <oan o$ .

we have her e)a#t wor%s an% those o$ her 7uestioners at the trial I wante% to be very simple an% only insist.o ten told. on what she sai%' . 3ow did you think you were correctin! your $redecessors" B& The le!en%. without pre9u%i#e. whi#h the publi# is use% to. o$ a poor an% i!norant little shepher%ess #omman%in! the army an% savin! her "in! an% Pran#e is "nown now to be $alse' Besi%es.

S: .n% the typi#al %rama o$ her trial. but they were . with everyone a!ainst her> The 0ren#h were as ba% as the 3n!lish.hat does she mean to you" B& Renaissan#e painters $re7uently %epi#t the worl% with a level above it. on whi#h sit =o% an% the an!els' <oan live% her whole li$e with one $oot on earth an% the other on that hi!her level' .$le% that you wanted Arsene to be !entle when sober so that the audience could eel &altha5ar's ba lement at the total chan!e wrou!ht in his master by a sim$le bottle. &ut you never show us enou!h o the !entle .e talked be ore about your s$eed.cess s$eed. whi#h is why I %on t show Cau#hon as a total villain' S: . #here are si!ns in Au hasard% &altha5ar o e. You once said% or e.

B& I %on t remember. o$ #ourse. to see an analo!y between the %i$$erent sta!es o$ the li$e o$ a %on"ey an% the li$e o$ a human bein!. one vi#e' . but you 7uote me a##urately' I ha% two i%eas in this $ilm' 0irst. se#on%. to see the %on"ey su$$erin! $or all human vi#es' 2run"enness is.Arsene to make the contrast elt.

Until now% all your ilms take $lace% as it were% without s$atial or tem$oral $articularity.S: Somethin! new enters your ilms in &altha5ar. B& 3roti#ism' S: Somethin! else% too. .as this conscious and deliberate" . 3ere% or the irst time% contem$orary mores are unmistakable: the blousons noirs% +a55% etc.

am$le% in each ilm +a55 enters with such volume and caco$hony that it becomes hate ul. Am ' not correct% then% in sensin!% be!innin! with &altha5ar% your hatred or the modern world" B& Perhaps not hatre%. but rather %istrust $or some "in%s o$ . 1or e.B& 1o' S: 't +ust ha$$ened" Yet it ha$$ens a!ain in Mouchette and in Une 1emme douce.

mo%ern so#iety' I am startin! to write a s#ript about the $or#es that %ominate mo%ern man' S: .hat causes this recent interest o yours in contem$orary li e" B& This interest is not re#ent' Sin#e my balms have be#ome simpler an% simpler. I want to atta#h mysel$ to some material that is resistant an% that will ma"e my wor" tou!her' .

S: Do you think it is a re lection o your time o li e: the im$ulse to +ud!e the a!e" B& 1o' I %on t 9u%!e. I only show. I show how the worl% ma"es me $eel now' S: You say that &altha5ar must $ass amon! the vices o man. . &ut 6erard% because o the very accuracy with which he is $ortrayed as a contem$orary +uvenile delin)uent% seems to me to be too banal to re$resent vice. /r rather.

he is imbe#ility an% violen#e. the one pro%u#in! the other' S: Some o the editin! in &altha5ar is brilliant% like the monta!e o the donkey's work li e.hy however% did you su$erim$ose the subtitle 8the years $ass8 in that scene" 't isn't necessary.B& Sin#e si) years have passe%. . . he may seem banal' In any #ase. whi#h !o well to!ether.

I m also usin! titles in my new $ilm ( . .story o$ < ni!ht. . .B& 8ou "now.story o$ :arthe....$irst ni!ht. &ut the title to which ' re er is the only title in &altha5ar% and it only makes clear what is already clear rom the editin!. . et#'( not to amuse mysel$ but to ma"e the %istin#tions amon! the various parts o$ the $ilm sharper' S: #hat's okay% because it will em$hasi5e the act that you are shootin! a our4$art story.

B& 8es' S: (ne thin! ' want to critici5e in this ilm 4 B& /ne thin! more> . you tea#h me many thin!s about my $ilms' S: 2o.B& 8ou are 7uite ri!ht' 8ou see.

Let me !ive you an e. ' understand that it is . A ter the violent scene in which 6erard beats Arsene while the other boys watch% Marie +ust ha$$ens to come by on the motorcycle when the beatin! is inished% which $ermits a scene between her and 6erard that makes an obvious $oint about her susce$tibility to evil Even more serious is Arsene's death$le. *ertain ob+ectionable coincidences.S: (ne thin! more.

as you sai%. the irony o$ li$e' ?i"e ba% thin!s. B& It is.meant to be ironic% but when Arsene alls o the donkey at the $recise moment that% havin! +ust won a ortune% he says !ood4bye to this country in which he has su ered so% it is too $at. !oo% thin!s never happen at the ri!ht time' S: #hat is another si!n o li e's mysteriousness" .

so it is 7uite natural that he woul% $all o$ the %on"ey' :oreover. B& But . the others pushe% him' They pla#e him on the %on"ey an% "i#" it so that it !oes too $ast an% he $alls o$$' .B& 8es' But you %i%n t li"e this s#ene@ S: ''ll tell you why.rsene is a %run"ar%.

B& 8es& in a state o$ happiness' 8ou are ri!ht' S: &ecause% you see% the cuts rom the kick% to him sayin! !ood4bye% to the road market% to him allin! o the donkey are too )uick and make the se)uence seem contrived% so that the irony seems rather .S: ' ' had shot this% ' would have allowed thirty seconds more o him ridin!.

an% when I shot that s#ene in the south at ni!ht in the mountains. B& 5hat you %on t "now is that I wor" with very little money. but when I see that money is runnin! out.the result o your arti icial mani$ulation. I shoot whatever sta!e we have arrive% at' But your #riti#ism is e)a#tly . I #oul%n t reshoot anythin!' I even la#"e% the time to ima!ine that anythin! mi!ht be reshot' I be!in by improvisin!.

as I now see' I shoul% have ma%e him !allop happily be$ore the $all so that it woul% be more sho#"in!' Perhaps' Perhaps' I m not sure' S: Your workin! conditions make re$eated takes di icult.ri!ht. B& 8es' I never approa#h what I want to %o' :any thin!s that I see an% want to in#lu%e in my $ilms I am prevente% $rom in#lu%in! by la#" o$ $un%s' But .

hy did you include in Au hasard% &altha5ar that short scene with the action $ainter" B& -e sits on a #lever %on"ey. I ma"e him spea" nonsense' S: Do you know how this has been inter$reted" B& That I li"e a#tion painters@ .too mu#h money #an also be a han%i#ap' S: .

2ot only that% but that he symboli5es your method as a director because he says that his $aintin!s catch the essence o a thou!ht. but I #ut them out while e%itin! be#ause the s#ene was too lon!' S: Another )uestion: 'n the scene where Arsene comes to the circus at which &altha5ar .S: Yes. I ha% three other people tal" in that s#ene. B& /ri!inally. &ut that is obviously wron!.

. B& -e s $ri!htene% be#ause he sees the bottle. he e)pe#ts that .ho is ri!ht" B& -e is !oin! away' S: 3e must be9 he's ri!htened.rsene will beat him' It s obvious' .is $er ormin!% ' think &altha5ar is movin! away rom Arsene% but critics have said that he is movin! toward him.

.S: Do you know that everyone ''ve discussed this with says the o$$osite.hen $eo$le cannot see what they see% what do you do" B& 5hat #an I %o@ S: Every day you become more di icult or your . Some critics have even written that &altha5ar moves toward Arsene in a !esture o *hristian or!iveness.

I am simply someone who li"es e)er#ise' 8ou "now that . an% so on their #rest they wrote . #omes $rom the =ree" wor% $or pra#ti#e o$ e)er#ise' 8ou "now where the title o$ the $ilm #omes $rom@ In the south in ?es Beau) there is an aristo#rati# $amily that preten%s to be the %es#en%ants o$ the :a!us I $oun% it by .audience.u -asar% Baltha4ar'.. B& 1o. So% you only shru!: You're a hard man.

so I %e#i%e% to use this title. .hy does she eel she must see him" .a##i%ent. has a very beauti$ul rhyme' S: &ut to !et back to this )uestion o coincidence: /ust be ore she seems to be !oin! o to be married% Marie eels she must visit 6erard one last time. whi#h. an% the whole story o$ Baltha4ar is his #han#e involvement in the lives o$ others. besi%es.

$ression so that we could see the orce o her com$ulsion to return to . be#ause she wants to ma"e her li$e better. she still has somethin! strai!ht le$t in her #hara#ter' She wants to e)or#ise =erar% $rom her li$e. ' only we saw thirty seconds more o her e.B& Be#ause althou!h she is a lost !irl. it is ma%e worse' S: &ut once a!ain the thematic meanin! is clearer than the $ersonal motivation.

't is all done sim$ly and beauti ully: (ut o shame% she kisses her iance's hand be ore leavin! him.6erard. B& But your thirty se#on%s o$ e)pression woul% mean that the nona#tor a#ts> S: ' want to move rom &altha5ar to Mouchette% which is very easy because they resemble each other more than any other two o your ilms. 'ndeed% the latter .

Do you a!ree" B& Perhaps it is be#ause this was the $irst time that I shot two $ilms in su##essive years' S: Mouchette is like the donkey: stubborn% sordid% lon!4su erin!. B& Both are vi#tims' S: (ne di erence between &ernanos' novel and your ilm .seems a new version o the ormer.

li"e his %es#ription o$ her sui#i%e... B& Be#ause his e)planation is wron!.is that &ernanos e..ll the time> But how #an he "now what !oes on in a little !irl s min%> S: (ddly enou!h% thou!h% ' understand her suicide more in the ilm than in the novel.$lains Mouchette's motives. you %on t 9ump in the water the way you put your . B& .

B& 8ou "now %eath is li"e a ma!i# tri#"& In a $lash. an% she . the person vanishes' That is why I %on t show her $allin! in the water' 5e see her rollin! %own the ban". I thou!ht at on#e that she ha% to %ie as she %oes in the $ilm' S: So heartbreakin!ly% or it is a !ame% the only !ame she ever $lays in the ilm. there is a #ut.hea% on a pillow' 5hen I was rea%in! the novel.

we "now she is %ea% only $rom the soun% an% the #ir#les !rowin! in the water' S: (bviously% you must show Mouchette's suicide because that is the conclusion o &ernanos' novel% but as a *hristian how do you eel about it" You seem to celebrate suicide 4 the blast o the Ma!ni icat at her death 4 but isn't this heretical" .is !one.

even the worst that li$e has to o$$er. I have seen many people 9ump into the river in $ront o$ my win%ows' It s remar"able that more %on t %o it' There are so many reasons $or sui#i%e. be#ause you wish to lose nothin!. !oo% an% ba%' I believe that the #hur#h has . not "illin! onesel$. #an also be #oura!eous' Sin#e I live near the Seine. but I #on$ess that more an% more sui#i%e loses its sin$ulness to me' Cillin! onesel$ #an be #oura!eous.B& 8es.

be#ome less ri!orous a!ainst it' Sometimes it is inevitable. an% not always be#ause o$ ma%ness' To be aware o$ a #ertain emptiness #an ma"e li$e impossible' S: (n the sur ace it seems that Mouchette kills hersel because li e is so terrible% but ' think the real reason is that she is so ashamed o hersel or what has ha$$ened to her. Do you a!ree" .

you must $eel that no sin!le e)planation will su$$i#e' /ne is the wall pla#e% be$ore her by other people a$ter the rape' She #an t live in the villa!e. she has been abuse% by a man whom she starte% to love' .B& There are so many motives. an% you #an un%erstan% it any way you li"e' Still. she #an t live in the house' Then too. whi#h is why this $ilm isn t too ba%' I e)plain nothin!.

hy did you include the $rolo!ue in which the mother is in church lamentin! her tuberculosis" . B& 8ou must have noti#e% that in the $ilm there is not one wor% about what her e)perien#e means' S: . but she or!ives him his crime. She blames hersel .S: 2ot only does she love him.

B& 8es@ S: .hy" .B& To intro%u#e this si#" woman early so that I #an pi#" her up later without havin! to ma"e elaborate preparations' ?ater we see what her illness has %one to her $aith' S: 3ere and in &altha5ar one senses a new ascination with $ain.

. B& 5hen I was youn! ..B& Perhaps be#ause I $eel that pain must be a#"nowle%!e% no less than happiness' S: #he o$enin! o Mouchette seems to me the !reatest in your ilms. I hunte% small animals in e)a#tly this way ' It is not e)a#tly a symbol. but it provi%es the ri!ht atmosphere' S: 't introduces Mouchette. .

&ut ' was curious why . she is #au!ht. 9ust as the partri%!es are #au!ht. in a trap' S: ' love also the amusement $ark se)uence% which is so $oi!nant% since it shows Mouchette havin! her one moment o $leasure by bein! hit in bum$ cars.B& But not li"e a symbol> It shows the sort o$ worl% in whi#h she lives' I$ you li"e. Even $leasure involves bein! hit or her.

you shot it as you did% with the stationary camera that misses some o the action. B& /nly a stationary #amera permits you to show real movement ( there is no other way' S: #he constricted ramin! is marvelous9 it kee$s us rom eelin! released. 't $re$ares us or that horrible sla$ with which the ather% inevitably% .

when the man.hy does that unidenti ied woman !ive Mouchette the money to take the ride" B& 5hy not@ ?i$e is very o$ten li"e that' It is the same in . B& Perhaps. :an 3s#ape%. whom 0ontaine %oesn t really . at least at the time I ha% no sense that my shot was mista"en' S: .concludes Mouchette's one moment o en+oyment.

:y little !irl.@ S: . "no#"s at the %oor o$ his #ell' Can you ima!ine i$ I ha% to e)plain& . you are so poor."now.n% that is worse than a #li#he' Sin#e I try never to show anythin! that is . I will let you ta"e this ri%e.hy do you start Une 1emme douce with a loatin! scar " B& To avoi% the #li#he o$ showin! her $allin! to the pavement' .

impossible an% sin#e. o$ #ourse. it tells you she is !oin! to #ommit sui#i%e' S: 't's also emotionally e ective9 this beauti ully loatin! scar and then the blood. 2omini7ue San%a %oes not a#tually hit the !roun%. I use% the s#ar$ to in%i#ate what was happenin!' 0urthermore. be#ause you have seen it $loatin! in the air at the be!innin!. Did you intend that" . when she is puttin! the s#ar$ on her shoul%ers.

. he says.B& /$ #ourse' S: Several $eo$le have called the ilm necro$hiliac in its constant ocusin! on the cor$se. B& I want to un%erstan% %eath.I ha% only %esire% her . an% I hate $lashba#"s' There are no $lashba#"s in the $ilm& it is all the live husban% now #on$rontin! his %ea% wi$e' 5al"in! aroun% the #orpse.

bo%y.. but it is all li$e in the $a#e o$ %eath' S: #his ilm has a back!round o car sounds% and there is that harsh cut to the modern scul$ture when they !o to the Museum o Modern Art. an% there it is& %ea%' People saw the $ilm as a series o$ $lashba#"s. I thin" that s#ulpture is pretty' . Does this too re lect your sus$icion o the modern world" B& /n the #ontrary.

S: . she the new' She is mu#h #leverer than he. whi#h is the opposite o$ 2ostoyevs"y. in whi#h the !irl is an inno#ent stupi% wai$' . B& Probably to spite her husban%' -e li"es the ol%.hy does the wi e like it" 'ma!e ca$tion: #he -ro$osal occurs at a 5oo% so that &resson can shoot toward the actors throu!h a ca!e.

that it %isappointe% her' . marria!e has somethin! aw"war% about it' S: 'sn't the $roblem in the marria!e her ault% too" 'n some sense% she shows the .S: Doesn't she marry him to try to esca$e her $ast" B& :any !irls marry to es#ape their homes. but I %i%n t even try to e)plain her a#tion to mysel$' I only wante% to show that marria!e wasn t enou!h to her.s =oethe says.

She reads in a book% at the end% that birds all re$eat the son! o their $arents% and her dressin! !own has a bird $attern on it.$rison o ori!inal sin. She says she comes rom a sinister home% and she can never throw o its in luence. Aren't you showin! that she wants to but cannot !et rid o her bad u$brin!in!" .

She saves him rom likin! only . 'sn't the maid a kind o con essor or the husband" B& Perhaps' S: #he horror o the ilm is that they kill each other.B& 1o' I only ma%e her say that she wants marria!e to be more than marria!e' S: Another interestin! relationshi$ in the ilm is that between the husband and the maid.

B& It seeme% to me that many people #oul%n t un%erstan% her true motive $or "illin! hersel$' There are many motives here. but prin#ipally it is obvious she will never "now whether or not her husban% saw her attempt to "ill him' S: And the more he loves and or!ives her% the more di icult . too.money9 he saves her rom a di icult li e. As a result% they destroy each other.

.he makes thin!s or her. B& 8es' 8es' /ne o$ten hurts most the person one loves most' S: ' think you do have a scene in the ilm which is a clue to your meanin!: when the husband and wi e discuss Me$histo$heles' s$eech in 1aust. 3is love kills her.

B& I li"e these wor%s o$ :ephistopheles' They are in 2ostoyevs"y s story' S: #his is the irst o your ilms containin! allusions to other works: 1aust% 3amlet% etc. B& -amlet I in#lu%e% be#ause I hate su#h theatri#al shoutin!' I have mysel$ seen itper$orme% by a 0ren#h #ompany that omitte% -amlet s a%vi#e to the .

players be#ause it #ontra%i#te% their style' S: &ut ' think there is a mistake here.... . B& I in#lu%e% this to show that she is utterly un#on#erne% with her husban% s $eelin!s an% only wishes to annoy him' S: &ut doesn't the whole business about 3amlet sto$ .hen she !oes back to the a$artment and reads 3amlet's s$eech.

your ilm to $rovide an essay about your theory o actin!" B& 1o, I %on t thin" so' Perhaps it is too lon!, but I simply #oul%n t #ut it' S: 't's not that it's borin!% but ' be!in to be $u55led about its unction. B& It prepares the $ollowin! s#ene, as I tol% you'

S: ,hy do they always see races and machines on television" B& The auto ra#e e)#ites them se)ually in the s#ene a$ter the we%%in!, an% the noise o$ the airplanes !oes with his an)ious awaitin! o$ her at ni!ht' S: #he wi e is a terrible $erson in a way. B& /$ #ourse, the title is ironi#'

S: 3er suicide is a hostile act% doomin! him to an eternity o !rie unmiti!ated by understandin!. B& /$ #ourse' S: #here is one other !rou$ o directors that shares your eelin! about $ro essional actors: the 'talian neorealists. Do you eel any a inity or them"

hy do so many o your actors walk about with their eyes cast downward" B& They are loo"in! at the #hal" mar"s' . be#ause the voi#e sums a person up as nothin! else #an' S: . I un%erstan% they sometimes %ub their voi#es with pro$essionals' That is wron!. But althou!h they use nona#tors.B& I %on t "now their $ilms well.

S: You've made several ilms rom works o iction . I in#lu%e% as many thin!s as I #oul% $rom my own e)perien#e' . in 2iary o$ a Country Priest I wasn t $aith$ul to the style o$ Bernanos. an% I omitte% %etails whi#h I %isli"e%' But I was $aith$ul to the spirit o$ the boo" an% to what it inspire% in me as I rea% it' /$ #ourse. Do you think it's $ossible or a ilm to be aith ul to its source" B& 8es' 0or e)ample.

$ter that.$$aires Publi7ues' . no one woul% !ive . $or si) or seven years.hy did you !ive u$ $aintin!" B& 0or reasons o$ health' The %o#tor ma%e me stop be#ause it was ma"in! me too nervous' S: 3ow were you enabled to break into ilms" B& I $irst ma%e a short $ilm whi#h I #alle% .S: .

but I su##ee%e% in #omin! ba#" to 0ran#e a$ter a year' Sin#e there were $ew people in Paris when I returne% an% sin#e the $ilm in%ustry was 9ust startin! up a!ain. even .n!es %u a 9ob' In 19D9. but they threatene% to brea" it' I nee%e% to use =irau%ou) as a #ollaborator on ?es . without him. I woul%n t have re#eive% money to ma"e the $ilm' 1evertheless. I was a prisoner o$ war. I was able to $in% wor"' Pathe si!ne% a #ontra#t with me.

but Co#teau was my #hoi#e' S: .hat in luence does your bein! a $ainter have on your ilms" B& Paintin! $ree% me $rom the %esire to ma"e paintin!s with .with =irau%ou). I ha% to $in% another pro%u#er' S: *octeau hel$ed you% too% didn't he" B& 8es.

but all were bro"en' .ea#h $rame an% $ree% me $rom the nee% to worry about beauti$ul photo!raphy' It helpe% me ma"e every shot a ne#essary shot' S: .hy was there such a lon! !a$ between your irst two ilms" B& I #oul%n t $in% any money' Two or three #ontra#ts were si!ne%.

I believe that I #annot ma"e my own $ilms i$ I have #ollaborators on the s#ript' .S: 3ow did you occu$y yoursel in those days" B& 5ith waitin! in pro%u#ers o$$i#es an% with tea#hin! mysel$ to write' 8ou see.