orphan black, season one
ramblin' jack elliott, "912 greens"

what i watched last week

A Man Escaped (Robert Bresson, 1956). A great movie that admittedly snuck up on me. I’d only seen one Bresson before this (Au Hasard Balthazar), which I appreciated more than I liked, and A Man Escaped is often mentioned as the ultimate Bressonian work. It may well be. But it is engrossing throughout, which is not something you’ll hear before seeing it. (The people I read were more on the line of, “it’s great, but give it time, it’s slow, be patient, don’t quit on it too soon”.) It was fun to see how wrong those warnings were, at least for me. It’s a prison escape movie that strips things down to elementals, and sure, it’s nice to kick back once in a while with Steve McQueen and his motorcycle in The Great Escape, but A Man Escaped doesn’t need flamboyant action scenes. The tension the movie creates is entirely down to the nuts and bolts of the escape attempt. It’s almost like a caper film, where we see exactly how things are planned, then watch to find out what works and what goes wrong. #86 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 10/10. (I’m not sure I’ve seen a better movie than this from 1956, but the rest of the Top Five of ‘56 would include, in alphabetical order, Attack!, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Killing, and The Searchers.)

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