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To direct oneself

Notes on the cinematographer, Translated into Danish and with preface by Emil Leth Meilvang
Forfatter: Robert Bresson
Forlag: Antipyrine forlag (Danmark)
Robert Bresson's Aphorism Collection Notes on the cinematographer are rarely stylish and minimalist – finally available in Danish translation.

"What is an actress talent? The art of falsifying oneself, wearing a personality other than one's own, appearing differently than one's being, becoming passionate about cold blood, saying something other than what one thinks as natural as one really meant it, and finally Forget their own place by taking someone else's, ”Rousseau writes in Letter to D'Alambert. But where Rousseau hates theater because it creates inauthentic citizens, the theater for Robert Bresson acts as a didactic punchbag that shows everything what film should not be.

Bresson (1907 – 1999) tried himself as an art painter in the 20 years and up to 1933. Then he started writing screenplays, and in 1934 he was behind the short film Public Affairs, which no one has seen since. In the period 1950 – 1974 he made eight feature films, while at the same time, in aphorism form, he developed a film poetics that has subsequently become very influential (in contrast to his own films, which today are mostly seen because of Notes on the cinematographer).


His contemporary films, by Bresson called Chinaéma, he only finds fault with, and the most important mistake is that these films are bastard products that have not detached themselves from other art forms. For Bresson, film is a medium with a unique potential. He describes this potential in precise and laconic aphorisms, and it emerges through negatives: The main error with Chinaéma is the remnant it has irresponsibly brought with it from the theater,. . .

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Kjetil Korslund
Historian of ideas and regular critic in Ny Tid.

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