The Devil, Probably

There is a moment at the end of Robert Bresson's 1977 film when Charles (Antoine Monnier), a young man who has decided on suicide as an abstaining vote against the options offered by society, pauses in his death march to listen to a snatch of a Mozart piano concerto coming through the window of a street-level apartment. He slows his step as though hesitating—for will one experience Mozart after death? Steadily paring away cinema's usual enticements, Bresson's style was conceived in opposition to the obvious forms of beauty and drama. Calling his performers "models," Bresson drilled them until all emotional display was stripped from their actions and readings, and then further abstracted their automatic, affectless performances with framing that dissects them into feet, hands, and broken gestures. Bresson's images are flat, generally shot with the 50mm lens that most nearly approximates the human eye. Ending in a note of ecohysteria, The Devil is screened from a new 35mm print. (NR) NICK PINKERTON

Aug. 17-23, 7 & 9 p.m., 2012

 
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