He had already experimented with this point of view in Diary of a Country Priest, but here he reinforces the first-person perspective by harnessing and sharpening those filmic elements directly relevant to it. The very spare plot features Leterrier playing a Resistance hero captured by the Nazis and imprisoned in Fort Montluc. His cell is small, the walls and door are thick, the prison walls are high, the Nazi guards are outside. Though not flawless, Criterion's Blu-ray release of A Man Escaped is clearly superior to the one French label Gaumont produced two years ago. But even in the worst predicaments, Overgård conveys a sense of resolve that prevents the film from becoming some miserablist parable.
Not entirely due to the subject matter, but largely because it is telling. We see the routine as prisoners are marched to morning wash-up. One day he notices that while his cell door is made out of stout oak wood, the panels of oak are joined together with lesser quality, softer wood. The protagonist of A Man Escaped is a soldier and a man of action, but, like his predecessors, he is also a spiritual force, inspiring hope in his fellow prisoners. Image consistency is a slight issue at times, as there seems to be a trembling effect that compromises some of the focus, especially when the camera embraces depth of field.
Bresson's camera spends a great deal of time studying his face and shaky hands because they reveal perfectly that he is a real human being - hopeful but apprehensive, determined but desperate. There is a misleading simplicity presented throughout A Man Escaped. The film's opening sequence sets the tone for this rigorous limitation of information, and it is justifiably famous as one of the most understated sequences in a film whose entire aesthetic is based on understatement. He doesn't attempt his escape alone, but I won't describe the other man, except to observe that Fontaine feels he must either try to bring him along or kill him. The film takes its time without dragging on or lingering on any one moment, creating a wonderfully consistent pace.
He takes only 120 pages, but we need only a paragraph: Sisyphus was a man condemned to spend his life pushing a stone up a mountain, and seeing it roll back down again. It is a tightly circumscribed world of rigorous physical reality, with little space for reflection. I also did not see edge-flicker or serious transition issues to report in this review. He also makes a rope from his blanket and a hook from a piece of metal. When the child is at her most vulnerable, at her most human, she seems to turn into a possession or a pawn.
We experience it as he does. Soon he gets a cellmate, François Jost Charles Le Clainche , a sixteen-year-old who had joined the German army. He tells these stories in an unadorned style, without movie stars, special effects, contrived thrills and elevated tension. Also, there are no pops, cracks, audio dropouts or distortions to report in this review. Concludes with the tense action sequence in which Fontaine and Jost escape. When he sharpens a spoon on the ground, the sound of the scraping is uncomfortably loud.
The documentary contains very informative interviews with filmmakers Andrei Tarkovsky, Orson Welles, Louis Malle, Paul Schrader, and actor Dominique Sanda. In this manner, Devlin suggests a film director who coaxes an actress into performing his own fantasies and nightmares. In referring to his métier, therefore, he chose the word cinematography over cinema, because the latter was associated with the more traditional form of dramatic filmmaking. His subject is how they try to prevail in the face of unbearable circumstances. Dry, methodical, and at times unbearably tense, it is also rightfully considered one of the greatest jailbreak films of all time.
Here is a movie about a man condemned to death in 1943 in Montluc, a Nazi prison camp in Lyon, inside German-occupied France. Two audio commentaries have also been ported over from prior editions: by Hitchcock scholar Mariane Keane, who tends to tediously narrate the events transpiring on screen, and by film historian Rudy Behlmer, who fascinatingly dissects the politics, those of Washington as well as of Hollywood, that govern classical American filmmaking of yesteryear. As he awaits the right moment to make a run for it, the camera pans down from his face to his left hand, which is testing the door handle. Multiple trailers, an archival newsreel, a radio program, and an essay by critic Angelica Jade Bastién round out the package. Whether in Fort Montluc or Guantanamo, the experience of solitary confinement in wartime purposefully seeks to tear away the very essence of humanity in the service of defeating the enemy.
Fontaine wonders if he's a spy. Typically, they would become easy to see where there is plenty of light. Fontaine's method is to use Bresson's own method: The close scrutiny of salient details. It teaches by demonstration all the sorts of things that are not necessary in a movie. Actually, let me correct that: His first act is to examine the tools of his inevitable liberation his carelessly unshackled hands , then to test the walls of his first cell the unlocked car door.
Overall, however, Criterion's presentation of A Man Escaped is indeed far more convincing. The character is based on a postwar memoir by André Devigny, who escaped from Montluc on the very day he was scheduled to die. He makes hooks from the light fitting in his cell, fashions himself ropes from clothing and bedding and fastens the hooks to the rope with wires taken from his bed. I have attempted to match two screencaptures that should give you a good idea what type of improvements have been made - compare screencapture 3 with screencapture 7 from our review of the Gaumont release. From off screen, Spheeris asks Crash to explain himself further but offers no judgment of him, despite his outrageous and offensive choice of words.
Indeed, if Fontaine had not brought him along, it's a good question whether his escape could succeed. He uses the basic vocabulary of long, medium, close and insert shots, to tell what needs to be told about every scene. The second part of the title comes from the Bible. No one says what they mean, and so shifting power dynamics are expressed by objects: a key, a wine bottle, a stairway, and a series of poisoned cups of tea. It is a film that imagines the longest night of a man's life, when every object he sees holds death in its merest sound, when a squeak or a rattle can kill him.