Volume 8, Issue 3 / March 2004

Focus on Robert Bresson

In this issue

When Robert Bresson died on December 18, 1999 at the ripe age of 98, the field for title of ‘greatest living film director’ became wide open. Few directors, living or dead, were ever spoken of in such hushed tones of reverence and awe by fellow filmmakers and critics. Far from prolific (13 features films), Bresson made his mark by the sheer force of his uncompromising and resolute cinematic vision. Once the impact of his death had settled, I had hoped to commemorate Bresson’s remarkable achievements with a special issue of Offscreen. It has taken a while, but the circumstances for a just tribute have finally fallen into place, thanks largely to Colin Burnett’s long-running research interest on the French film master. Given Bresson’s own meticulous and time consuming work rate, perhaps it is fitting that it has taken so long, but Offscreen is happy to present the first of two companion issues devoted to Bresson. The follow-up issue, to be published by early May, will include a review of the Criterion DVD of Diary of a Country Priest, a statistical analysis of Pickpocket, and a reflection on Bresson’s epigrammatic Notes on the Cinematographer.

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