TABLE OF CONTENTS

Movie Rites

EVEN BEFORE ROBERT BRESSON DIED, an elegiac note had begun to sound in various essays and articles written about him. Elegiac not for him personally, but for his whole conception of cinema. The Chicago Reader’s Jonathan Rosenbaum, for instance, worried that Bresson’s films, in which the meticulous composition of shots and the precise spatial location of sound effects are of paramount importance, translate unusually poorly to home video; and, since video is where today’s would-be cineast gets acquainted with film history, the persistence of Bresson’s vision is called into doubt. In Robert Bresson, Cinémathèque Ontario’s 1998 collection of essays, Martin Scorsese put it this way: “I have to wonder whether or not young people who have grown up on digitally engineered effects and DTS soundtracks can actually find the patience required to watch a film by a Bresson or, for that matter, an Ozu

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