Robert Bresson John Gerlach - Essay

John Gerlach

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Bresson, in The Diary of a Country Priest,] is faithful to the central development of the priest's role, at the same time that he diminishes the significance of the four pairs of characters. The priest is granted three moments of insight, during which he understands the depth of pain suffered by Delbende, Chantal, and the Countess. In each case he acts with certainty, with a nearly hypnotic precision. In the case of Delbende, he is unable to offer comfort, in the cases of Chantal and the Countess, he is energized into compassion and action. But many of the incidents which show the priest's relation to these and other characters are either truncated or omitted. This inherently difficult alteration of the...

(The entire section is 921 words.)