Un condamné à mort s’est échappé (1956)

March 29th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Robert Bresson | Cast: François Leterrier, Charles le Clainche, François Jost | France 100’

Made when Bresson was still showing us actors’ faces and their hands rather than their backs and their feet, ‘Un condamne a Mort s’est echappe’ is proof positive than an austere drama in black & white can be as absorbing as the most action packed thriller.

French Resistance activist André Devigny is imprisoned by the Nazis and starts planning his escape from his solitary cell. On the day of his execution he is given a new cellmate who may be a Gestapo informer. Should reveal his elaborate escape scheme?

To those unfamiliar with the director’s work – notorious for his total lack of overt action and the almost parodic lack of expression of his casts of non-professionals – this will come as a pleasant surprise as you watch with your totally undivided attention the deceptively mundane details of prison life, it’s impact actually heightened by the sparing use of music (although whenever Bresson actually does allow Mozart his head he certainly makes up for lost time). @RichardChatten 


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