Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Crystal Clarity

The Devil, Probably (1977) - Bresson
The Devil, Probably
Which is more painful: seeing a baby seal clubbed to death or the main character shot dead in mid-sentence? This precisely measured condemnation of the modern world seeing through an intelligent young person, The Devil, Probably is a quietly angry film. Watching it is a frustrating experience also. Bresson's 'actors' go through their lines in their monotonous delivery. We don't see the victim when the bus runs over him. We only see passengers' feet and so on...

Charles denounces everything, from religion to psychoanalysis to money and sees no reason to go on living while the world is getting destroyed. What's remarkable is its clarity in disdain for destructive nature of human and making the case for ending life, without judgment.

There is a short poignant moment at the end where Charles stops before on his way to die. From an apartment, its door ajar, there is a music blaring from TV set. The scene is very brief and in typical Bressonian fashion, there are no discernible emotions, no coverage, no closeups. Even art can't change his mind. Superb spiritual granddaddy to recent Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31st.

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