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Bard College Presents a Retrospective on Influential Filmmaker Robert Bresson, January 31 to May 8

Eleanor Davis
"Pickpocket" (1959)  Image Credit: Robert Bresson

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Film and Electronic Arts Program at Bard College presents “Robert Bresson and His Legacy,” a complete retrospective of Bresson’s films, in the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center from Tuesday, January 31 to Saturday, February 11. All films are free and no reservations are necessary, although early arrival is recommended as seating is limited. For more information contact Richard Suchenski at, or call 845-758-6482.

Initially a painter, Bresson (1901–99) completed 13 features between 1943 and 1983, in the midst of some of the most tumultuous events of the 20th century. Refusing to make concessions to the commercial cinema, Bresson pursued a largely independent course and quickly emerged as an exemplary figure during mid-century debates about cinematic modernism and film’s status as an art. Bresson’s body of work is of singular importance to the history of cinema and all of his films will be screened using rare or archival 35mm prints. Several of these films have not been screened anywhere since the 1990s and many of them are unavailable in any other format.

“Bresson is universally recognized as an important filmmaker, even by those who are bewildered by his unusual style,” says Richard Suchenski, assistant professor of film and electronic arts. “The frequently discussed austerity of Bresson’s approach is counterbalanced in each of his films by a unique, sometimes overwhelming, sensuality and a profound engagement with the concreteness of bodies, objects, and environments. Over the past several decades, his rich body of work has become a paradigm for international art cinema and this program will also highlight the breadth and depth of his global influence by looking at representative works from more than a dozen countries.”

Alongside Bard College, a select group of major venues including the National Gallery of Art, the George Eastman House, the Toronto International Film Festival Cinematheque, and the Harvard Film Archive are participating in a tour of Bresson’s films timed to coincide with the publication of a new anthology, Robert Bresson (Revised), edited by James Quandt (Indiana University Press, 2012). Bard is the only organization expanding the program with additional films, related events, and an associated course, Robert Bresson and His Legacy.

This program has been made possible in part by generous support from the Hannah Arendt Center, the French Studies Program, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and a grant from French American Cultural Exchange. Please check the Film and Electronic Arts Program website for directions and updates:



Bard College Film and Electronic Arts Program and Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center Present

Robert Bresson and His Legacy

January 31 to February 11


All films will be screened on new or archival 35mm prints with English subtitles (unless otherwise noted). Screenings and events are free and open to the public and will be held at the Jim Ottaway Jr. Film Center, Bard College, unless otherwise noted. Please check our website for directions and updates at


Complete Retrospective of Robert Bresson’s Films

Tuesday, January 31

7:00 PM Mouchette (1967, 78 minutes)


Friday, February 3

7:00 PM Diary of a Country Priest (1951, 115 minutes); Pickpocket (1959, 75 minutes)


Saturday, February 4

4:00 PM Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945, 86 minutes)

7:00 PM Trial of Joan of Arc (1962, 65 minutes); Lancelot of the Lake (1974, 85 minutes)


Tuesday, February 7

7:00 PM Au hasard Balthazar (1966, 95 minutes)


Friday, February 10

7:00 PM A Man Escaped (1956, 99 minutes); Les Anges du péché (1943, 96 minutes)


Saturday, February 11

1:30 PM The Devil Probably (1977, 95 minutes); A Gentle Woman (1969, 88 minutes)

7:00 PM Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971, 87 minutes); L’Argent (1983, 85 minutes)



Related Events

Tuesday, January 31

1:00 PM Lecture by Richard Suchenski (Film and Electronic Arts)

*This lecture to be held at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College


Wednesday, February 15

4:45 PM Lecture by Tony Pipolo (Professor Emeritus of Film and Literature, City University of New York and author of Robert Bresson: A Passion for Film)


Monday, March 5

5:00 PM Panel discussion on the impact of the Occupation on French culture with Richard Suchenski, Eric Trudel (French Studies), Roger Berkowitz (Politics, Hannah Arendt Center)


Thursday, March 8

4:45 PM Discussion on Bresson’s influence on contemporary film culture with Richard Suchenski and Kent Jones (executive director, World Cinema Foundation and editor-at-large, Film Comment)



Related Screenings

All begin at 7:00 PM unless otherwise specified.


Life Under Occupation: Tuesday, February 21

The Sorrow and the Pity (Marcel Ophuls, 1969, France, 250 minutes)


Bresson and His Contemporaries: Tuesday, February 28

Le Trou (Jacques Becker, 1960, France, 132 minutes)


Dostoevskian Cinema, Part I: Friday, March 2

Red Beard (Akira Kurosawa, 1965, Japan, 185 minutes)*

*Part of a yearlong Kurosawa retrospective


Dostoevskian Cinema, Part II: Tuesday, March 6

Crime and Punishment (Josef von Sternberg, 1935, USA, 88 minutes)

The Sacrifice (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1986, Sweden, 142 minutes)


The Spirit and the Flesh: Tuesday, March 13

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Dreyer, 1928, France, 100 minutes)

The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese, 1988, USA, 163 minutes)


Lives of the Saints: Tuesday, March 20

Joan the Maid (Jacques Rivette, 1994, France, 336 minutes plus 20-minute intermission)*

*This screening begins at 6:00 PM


Quotidian Gestures: Tuesday, March 27

Jeanne Dielman (Chantal Akerman, 1975, Belgium, 173 minutes)


Systems of Exchange: Tuesday, April 10

Class Relations (Jean-Marie Straub and Daniéle Huillet, 1984, West Germany/France, 127 minutes)

The Piano Teacher (Michael Haneke, 2001, Austria/France/Germany, 131 minutes)


Friday, April 13

The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973, Spain, 97 minutes)




Models of Urban Alienation: Tuesday, April 17

The Terrorizers (Edward Yang, 1986, Taiwan, 110 minutes, 16mm)

Frontier of Dawn (Philippe Garrel, 2008, France, 106 minutes)*

*Part of 2012 Tournées Festival


Friday, April 20

Official Start of 2012 Tournées Festival: 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008, France/Germany, 100 minutes)

Lourdes (Jessica Hausner, 2009, Austria/France/Germany, 96 minutes)


The Dardennes and Bresson’s Contemporary European Legacy: Tuesday, April 24

The Son (Le Fils, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2002, Belgium/France, 103 minutes); The Silence of Lorna (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2008, Belgium/France/Italy/Germany,

105 minutes)*

*Part of 2012 Tournées Festival


Friday, April 27

2012 Tournées Festival: The Duchess of Langeais (Jacques Rivette, 2007, France/Italy, 137 minutes)


Bresson’s Global Influence: Tuesday, May 1

2012 Tournées Festival: A Screaming Man (Mahamet-Saleh Haroun, 2010, France/Belgium/Chad, 92 minutes)


The Sense of an Ending: Tuesday, May 8

In Praise of Love (Jean-Luc Godard, 2001, France/Switzerland, 97 minutes)



With very special thanks to James Quandt (TIFF Cinemathque), Mylène Bresson, Delphine Selles-Alvarez (Cultural Services of the French Embassy), Roger Berkowitz (Hannah Arendt Center, Bard College), Eric Trudel (French Studies, Bard College), Brian Belovarac and Sarah Finklea (Janus Films), Eric Di Bernardo (Rialto Pictures), Jake Perlin (The Film Desk), Olivia Colbeau-Justin (Gaumont), Judy Nicaud (Paramount), Dennis Doros and Amy Heller (Milestone Films), Anne Morra and Mary Keene (Museum of Modern Art), Laurence Berbon (Tamasa Distribution), Paul Ginsburg (NBC Universal), Jordan Press (Sony Pictures Entertainment), Jason Leaf (Kino Lorber), Linda Duchin (New Yorker Films), Ryan Krivoshey (Cinema Guild), Lori Lam (Palisades Tartan), Justin DiPietro (IFC Films), Michael DiCerto (Sony Pictures Classics), Rachel Langus (Film Movement), the Institut Français, and The Tournées Festival.



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This event was last updated on 02-21-2012