Quatre nuits d’un rêveur [1971]

23Mar12 – 7 – Quatre nuits d’un rêveur (Robert Bresson: 1971)

FOUR NIGHTS OF A DREAMER (“Quatre Nuits d’un rêveur”, 1971) is sort of the odd film out in Bresson’s small oeuvre: it has never been available commercially on tape or DVD and is very rarely shown in public (a new print was made for this year’s Bresson retrospective in Toronto), and there’s relatively little critical comment on it. Well, based on the truly awful print available on the ‘tubes (long stretches are so dark that literally nothing at all can be made out, when it’s not too dark the color saturation level is much too high, the print is scratchy and badly out of focus making the subtitles difficult to read), I’ve got to say I liked it. A lot.QUTRE NUITS is based on the same Dostoevsky novella that Visconti used for LE NOTTI BIANCHE, which I also liked a lot, but the movies are quite different. Whereas Visconti aimed for a dreamlike fairy tale quality and succeeded, Bresson made an austerely formalist satire of, oh, the French New Wave and everything it stood for, but in particular of Godard (particularly the maddening philosophizing of MASCULIN FÉMININ) and Truffaut (there’s a scene that is unmistakably a parody of STOLEN KISSES), with his lead actor Guillaume des Fôrets and the character he plays clearly a parody of Jean-Pierre Léaud as Antoine Doinel. And it’s actually funny. Either that or I have lost my mind entirely. Not that QUATRE NUITS is fluff, but it’s a lot looser in feel than I’m used to. But maybe I missed most of the movie because the print was so terrible? Possibly. I have to give a provisional rating here: 7*/10. [3/23/12]



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