L’Argent

In the invaluable Robert Bresson, edited by James Quandt, P. Adams Sitney states, “Bresson criticism demands a philosophical or literary analogue, preferably a parallel text with the same radical formalism and religious orientation.” (1) Outside of the more obvious source influences of Georges Bernanos, Fyodor Dostoevsky or Leo Tolstoy, the work of Flannery O’Connor may provide the nearest analogical relation yet. Indeed, it is surprising not only how much of the Bresson criticism collected in Quandt’s book may be just as easily applied to Flannery O’Connor’s work – sometimes with uncanny directness – but also how deeply the work of both artists reflect one another. From notions of “Christian misanthropy” to statements on form by both O’Connor and Bresson, the parallels between the criticism and the work are strikingly consistent. What follows are excerpts and notes from a book project mapping the many links between these two highly distinctive artists.

He sat and looked in front of him, glum and intense, at the neck of the woman across from him. At intervals, her hand holding the cigarette would pass the spot on her neck; it would go out of sight and then it would pass again, going back down to the table […] (2).

Obviously, one may find similar passages in other writing, and to merely relate the mechanics of these artists, sentence for shot, is to risk falling into what the philosopher Arthur Danto calls the “comedy of similarities” (3). Here, Flannery O’Connor’s sentence is directly aligned to a character’s point of view, literally what he sees and how he sees (“glum and intense”). For Bresson, to focus on the neck (or, say, the legs) is another way of draining the image, neutralising the individual character of a single shot in order that it may take its active role in the overall piece. However, there is a shared sensibility in this kind of “off-centre” focus. It represents a specific experience of life, a worldview, and thus a way of making us see ourselves by telling or showing us where to look (and, in the case of O’Connor, how to look).

Both artists “descend to the concrete where fiction operates” (4), focusing in on details in order to grasp or allude to something much larger and more mysterious. For example, O’Connor’s description of the grandmother’s dress in “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” not only enriches the visual-narrative experience, but creates a kind of portentousness or dread:

the grandmother had on a navy blue straw sailor hat with a bunch of white violets on the brim and a navy blue dress with a small white dot in the print. Her collars and cuffs were white organdie trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a lady. (5)

Not that the physical details are directly symbolic; rather, they “attain […] a certain area of meaning beyond psychology yet this side of symbolism” (6), and are significant enough, in and of themselves, to conjure up a world that is sufficiently solid and meaningful. Such attention not only to detail, but also to physical processes and procedures, activates the latent dynamism inhabiting the most basic mechanics of human existence, thereby revealing a soul in or through action. Whether in prose or on film, details are not symbols of God, but more like trace evidence. Only through our humanity may we apprehend the divine.

I have always considered the supernatural to be exact reality […] (7)

[…] let people feel the soul and the heart there, but let it be made like a work of hands. (8)

A student once asked O’Connor why the killer in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” carried a black hat. To which the author replied, “To cover his head.” (9)

Mouchette

The dresses of Mouchette (Nadine Nortier), or the rubber work gloves worn by Yvon Targe (Christian Patey) in L’Argent (1983), serve a similarly practical function. Each item is integral to the figuration of each character. They are physical details succinctly delineating the characters, less emblems than attributes that are nonetheless significant, or more significant for being better integrated. Again, throughout L’Argent, Yvon’s clothes often seem too small for him; they constrict him in accordance with his circumstances. His clothes do not quite symbolize his character, but reinforce it; likewise, the Misfit’s black hat. As O’Connor made clear, black hats are common enough, and the fact of a character’s wearing one is simply a narrative detail adding roundness to the scene or story. However, this particular hat belongs to a sort of religious killer, who brings about the story’s unforgettable moment of grace. So the hat fuses with the figure, simultaneously specifying or humanizing the Misfit and lending him a larger mythic charge. The hat assists the symbolism in registering organically or subliminally; the details pile up, and, very much like individual shots, “accumulate meaning” and “create movement” (10). In both Bresson and O’Connor, this movement is nearly always toward grace, which, oddly, is enacted in the most concrete manner. Yet it is the very concreteness, “where not everything is present, but each word, each look, each movement has things underlying” (11), that produces the symbolic shock. The brutal murders of L’Argent reflect those in “A Good Man is Hard to Find” in their disarming offhandedness. Yet in both cases, one senses beneath or within such a blunt treatment something else going on or being said, something essentially eternal, and, in this way, symbolic.

Hide the ideas, but so that people find them. The most important will be the most hidden. (12)

The story has been called grotesque, but I prefer to call it literal. (13)

O’Connor’s subjects may be tragicomically malformed, but these exterior handicaps almost always correspond to interior cripplings or malnourishments; it is precisely her characters’ spiritual inadequacy that makes them appear so discomforting, even, at times, psychotic.

He stopped at a supply store and bought a tin bucket and a sack of quicklime and then he went on to where he lived, carrying these. […] His landlady was sitting on the porch, rocking a cat. “What you going to do with that, Mr. Motes?” she asked. “Blind myself,” he said and went on in the house. (14)

To label this behaviour as grotesque is to mistake intense spiritual conflict for conventional monstrosity. Hazel Motes is extreme. Which is to say he is at the extremity of his predicament, the period in which he is, as O’Connor might have it, most “Christ-haunted”. Certainly, he is not portrayed through mere naturalism or realism, but rather with a kind of biblical extravagance and complexity. O’Connor doesn’t exaggerate his characteristics or actions, because she doesn’t need to. She simply distils.

Similarly, what has so often been mistakenly referred to as Bresson’s “asceticism” is really an attentiveness to tactile arrangement, an extremely subtle manipulation and matching of sound and gesture, with what Bresson himself characterized as a vigorous precision. (15) His method has most often and most profitably been compared to that of painting or music – that is, compositions of modulated forms and rhythms. Initially, such distillation, applied to subjects such as murder or suicide, is as off-putting as tonal dissonance. Eventually, as one uncovers motifs, the films “open up”. What initially appears severe and sparse is found to be roundly integrated and largely sensual – a full-bodied style that is extraordinarily attentive to human physicality and utility.

So not a spiritual style at all? Rather: Thus a spiritual style.

People are so full of contradictions, of oddities, the kind Dostoyevsky almost turned into a system. (16)

Both Bresson and O’Connor demand you come to them, the opposite of the inclusive tendency of conventional storytelling. This “misanthropic” technique makes their work appear supremely odd, a sense that both decreases and increases with each visitation. Even though one is familiar with O’Connor’s approach or style, and has submitted to its universe, Wise Blood never stops seeming odd. Its oddity lies in its own submission and commitment to its specific universe, a style at the service of a story so strange that it is almost otherworldly.

Bresson, too, builds his “systematic” universe with contradictory materials (shots of feet instead of faces, or inexpressive faces at times of high emotion), composing the elements in such a way as to render them unfamiliar, unexpected, newly-charged: “An old thing becomes new if you detach it from what usually surrounds it.” (17)

There may never be anything new to say, but there is always a new way to say it, and […], in art, the way of saying a thing becomes a part of what is said […] (18)

Flannery O’Connor’s characters, as Amédée Ayfre says of Bresson’s,

attain […] a certain area of meaning beyond psychology yet this side of symbolism. […T]here is always something fundamental and mysterious in them which escapes us. They emanate a sort of discomfort which means they can never be truly sympathetic […] They make us feel uncertain and uneasy. (19)

Wise Blood’s Enoch Emery is just such an uncomfortable creation. Something is off about him; he seems enigmatically shabby. He doesn’t progress with a conventional novelistic psychology, but is more like a descendant of Dostoevsky’s “possessed”, an absurd, slightly psychotic creature, caught in and creating his own conflict – a rather ruthless human, ruthlessly portrayed:

He visited a whore when he felt like it but he was always being shocked by the looseness he saw in the open. He crawled into the bushes out of a sense of propriety. (20)

Throughout the novel, he trails and harasses the lead character, Hazel Motes, as if desperate to be a disciple. In the end, his compulsions and self-delusions turn him into a beast, but a beast with a man inside; he buries his clothes, dons a gorilla costume, and, reduced to phoney grunts and utterances, becomes a small sweaty man in a monkey suit.

The main character of Hazel Motes is just as strange as Enoch, a resistant preacher so wound-up and uncomfortable in his own skin that he seems ready to explode – an embodiment of spiritual anxiety. Yet he possesses a kind of alien integrity that is both compelling and repelling. Spewing ambiguous venom, he’s like a cipher that immediately reveals its meaning. In this sense, he is on this side of symbolism.

Similarly, Bresson’s characters move and speak with an almost otherworldly simplicity, a fairly unrealistic manner that frustrates empathy. It’s difficult to sympathize with L’Argent’s Yvon as he seems so remote and unaffected. When he goes back to the shop to get his name cleared, and the clerks deny ever seeing him, he doesn’t really protest like he might in a conventional drama or even in real life. Bresson relies completely on the actor’s countenance of somewhat rugged consternation; he doesn’t look angry or stunned so much as perpetually annoyed. He is not only a “model”, but a kind of blinking mannequin put through cruel circumstantial contortions.

He is there, behind that forehead, those cheeks. (21)

Un Condamné à mort s’est échappé ou Le Vent soufflé où il veut

This, of course, is the familiar effect of Bresson’s approach to acting, and his overall cinematic construction. Traditional acting, usually the presiding element of drama, is seen as an intrusion or breach of unified form. Without the assertive psychological resources of such acting, the “models” become more integrated into scenes; their speech becomes, in some ways, just another sound on the soundtrack, their even intonations blending with traffic, street music, prison noises – all equally important to the construction of a world. This, I think, is what Bresson means, in his introduction to Un Condamné à mort s’est échappé ou Le Vent soufflé où il veut (A Man Escaped or: The Wind Bloweth Where it Listeth, 1956) by rendering things “unadorned”: ordinary drama shorn of its usual ornamentation. Yet it is just this restriction that renders Bresson’s subjects more mysterious, more compelling. Stripped of actorly method and business, their speech and movements carry a conspicuous absence. Part of this is due, perhaps, to dramatic expectations – for someone expecting familiar styles of acting, such “performances” are bound to feel “lacking” – but it is also a result of Bresson’s privileging nature over psychology. Characters do not motivate into action; they simply move. Yet these movements are not without dramatic construction or significance. Bresson is very much a storyteller. He doesn’t exactly frustrate narrative expectations, or “undermine the dynamics of action” (22); rather, he redirects them toward an alternative approach: “Not only new relationships, but a new manner of re-articulating and adjusting.” (23) So he streamlines conventional drama, divesting it of high-pitched emotion, so that the films’ most critical conflicts carry the same weight as the smallest gestures and banal exchanges. These individually neutralized events and actions become energized through montage, through their place in the total form, into active, dramatic significance. Cumulatively, they take on an uneasy power that feels like something more or other than reality:

[…] certain of the details will tend to accumulate meaning from the action of the story itself, and when this happens they become symbolic in the way they work. (24)

She saw him grab the leg and then she saw it for an instant slanted forlornly across the inside of the suitcase with a Bible at either side of its opposite ends. (25)

This is from O’Connor’s story, “Good Country People”, in which a Ph.D. named Joy, who calls herself Hulga, has her wooden leg stolen by a phoney Bible salesman. The placement of this material contraption between two Bibles is another example of O’Connor’s explicit approach, her strict residency on this side of symbolism. Its importance lies in its very physicality or materiality:

If you want to say the wooden leg is a symbol, you can say that. But it is a wooden leg first […]. It has its place on the literal level of the story, but it operates in depth as well as on the surface. It increases the story in every direction […] (26)

The image itself, like a strange Z inside the suitcase, is highly photographic. The connection between Bibles and leg – spiritual sustenance connected to/by wooden material support – is symbolic only or precisely through its tactility, its precision as a physical detail. Indeed, for the salesman, the Bibles are simply pretext for his collection of all sorts of physical, tactile items:

“I’ve gotten a lot of interesting things”, he said.

“One time I got a woman’s glass eye this way […]” (27)

There’s a symbolism here, to be sure – something to do with the stripping away of artificial notions, or a reliance on false assistance. But, as with Bresson, the redemptive import of the symbolism is relayed through a strict, matter-of-fact physical presentation. The stealing of the artificial leg, like the murders of L’Argent, is merely a physical impetus setting off a spiritual process resulting in the conciliation of the two. This reconciliation, seemingly bestowed from outside, manifests itself as a sudden recognition of one’s complicity in life, the necessity to hold oneself accountable for one’s actions and thus surrender not only to God, but to the obligation of assisting God with our living – or dying, as the case may be. Yvon turns himself in, Mouchette and the gentle woman (Dominique Sanda) commit suicide (in this case, suicide is less of a sin than indecision), and Hulga once again becomes Joy.

The girl chooses the name Hulga, in place of Joy, out of a kind of existential spite, asserting her will in an attempt to dominate and extricate herself from her surroundings. However, her “belief in nothing”, so perversely cerebral and self-alienating, binds her precisely to what she despises – namely, a false belief system. Only the removal and robbery of her leg awaken her to her dependency on the world as a spiritual being. Numb and paralysed, really in a moment of horror, she is forced to shift from mind to body to spirit. And only when the three coalesce within her, it would seem, can she return to Joy – for, of course, the name Hulga is as artificial as the leg.

Bresson keeps the symbol and the concept relatively close, even tautological; a key is liberty, a cell is imprisonment, etc. The concept is so close to the object that it collides with its obstinate materiality. (28)

[…] there is a wooden part of her soul that corresponds to her wooden leg. (29)

Rather than couching her ideas in soft religious symbolism, O’Connor is explicit, as when, in regards to the Bible salesman, Hulga feels that “it was like surrendering to him completely. It was like losing her own life and finding it again, miraculously, in his.” Or, from “The Violent Bear It Away”: “His hunger was so great that he could have eaten all the loaves and fishes after they were multiplied.” She doesn’t shy away from allegory or nature, but goes all out in both directions in order to delimit her fairly ruthless universe. Her symbolism, like Bresson’s, is literal, unadorned.

Bresson’s films are rarely stories about temptation or struggles with doubt or for ‘reasons to believe.’ They’re more about subliminal resistance to, or discovery of, grace. The grossest sins aren’t usually the deadliest. (30)

L’Argent

This could just as well be said of O’Connor’s stories. Her protagonists, like Bresson’s models, are not so much stunned by sudden, terrible revelations as subtly manipulated into them, often against their will. Like Hulga in the hayloft, staring numbly after the salesman who has made off with her leg, L’Argent’s Yvon finds himself led into or through a series of increasingly fatal circumstances. He seems nearly non-resistant, yet his resistance lies in his very passivity, his lack of histrionics. He is not so much obstinate as stubbornly absent. Only with his attempted suicide and the murders does his resistance externalise itself, as he facilitates his own fatality. Through treachery and violence, both Hulga and Yvon are thrown into complete surrender – to their lives, their predicament. In the end, their lives have aligned or locked-in with God, or their spiritual positions have coincided or aligned with their physical predicaments.

In O’Connor’s story “The Enduring Chill”, there is another atheistic Ph.D., very similar to Hulga, who must return to his mother and his childhood home due to a mysterious ailment that wastes him away. Throughout the story, he is in continual fevered resistance to some unknown force, oddly emblematised by a stain on the wall in the shape of a bird with an icicle in its beak. He rightly fights against the shallow, misguided ministrations of his mother, her “reasons to believe”, but fights even harder, subliminally as it were, against his own conscience. Like Hulga in “Good Country People”, his wilful resistance to exterior pressure distracts him from the inner pressures which are merely the evidence, the reverberations or traces, of something which has already happened, which exists regardless of his ignorance of it, but whose truth or reality must be recognized and accepted in order for it to smash its way into his consciousness – and into the physical world in the outer form of that bird-like stain with the icicle in its beak. He feels himself resisting, but is mistaken about toward what – again, like Hulga. Is there a similar resistance on the part of Yvon in L’Argent? Certainly Yvon fights against and strikes back at his own conscience; the murders are his way of resisting, of blocking out the voice of grace. When he finally hears it, drawn into himself within the bustle of the café, he surrenders.

While revelations in Bresson and O’Connor may be convulsive and painful, with a rending of one thing into another, grace approaches quietly. It creeps up on the characters as well as the viewer; redemption happens almost without our knowing, as it is woven through the style like a portent. Both articulate the mysterious stealth of grace and how the moment of spiritual capitulation, or recapitulation, occurs in spite of one’s resistance to it. Grace leaps or pounces, a divine surprise, a kind of satori – that is, (as I understand it) a complete overhaul of one’s consciousness in a split second. Then everything is altered – foremost, internally (spiritually, psychically), but also physically. Grace not only is stealthy and transcendent, but organic, even biological, and forcibly tactile, like having an artificial leg removed and stolen from you.

Though the material leads to the spiritual, it can’t be kicked away, like a ladder you’ve climbed up […] (31)

The boy pointed up the ladder that led into the loft and said, “It’s too bad we can’t go up there.”

“Why can’t we?” she asked.

“Yer leg,” he said reverently.

The girl gave him a contemptuous look and putting both hands on the ladder, she climbed it while he stood below, apparently awestruck. (32)

For Christians, the self and the outside world are mystically ‘equalized.’ God loves us, but not more than He loves everybody else, even our enemies. To really love God (as distinct from asking him to do us special favours) is to renounce any priority in His eyes, to see ourselves as He does, understandingly but ruthlessly, impartially, objectively. (33)

Herein lies an explanation of sorts for the “levelling” of both Bresson and O’Connor. Both allow the events of their stories to play out without emotional intervention; rather than offer direct judgment, or ally themselves with any one character, they present their respective worldviews with the “ruthless objectivity” of Creators. In “A Good Man”, the Misfit and the grandmother are “mystically equalized”. The reader does not side with the old woman and empathetically plead for her pardon; nor do we sanction the Misfit’s killing instincts. Any tendency toward prioritisation or favouritism is suspended, and we are thrust into a world in which one person is no better or no worse than another.

In Bresson, the shots from below the knee, the same flat line readings are all ways of stylistically “renouncing priority in God’s eyes”.

Michel Ciment: “Yvon is a kind of exterminating angel.”

Bresson: “His is forsaken by society. The carnage is an expression of his despair. What was interesting about his meeting the little lady was that it was a meeting between acceptance and revolt.” (34)

The Misfit, too, is “a kind of exterminating angel”. But he is also, as rendered by O’Connor, a viscerally human figure, forsaken, yet somehow sympathetic in his isolation, almost magisterially so. Interestingly, in O’Connor’s story, it is the “little lady” who receives grace from the killer, while in L’Argent, it is the other way around. Does this mean that Yvon would have been a good man if there had been someone there for him to kill every second of his life?

Does one’s integrity ever lie in what he is not able to do? I think that usually it does, for free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man. (35)

What one is unable to do in Bresson: Yvon is unable to prove his innocence, Charles (Antoine Monnier) is unable to reconcile himself to society, Lancelot (Luc Simon) is unable to “rescue” Guinevere (Laura Duke Condominas), etc.

L’Argent

Is it primarily Bresson’s colour films that bear the closest relationship to O’Connor? There is, perhaps, not so much a darkening perspective, as a shift in presentation. Yet starting even with the black and white Mouchette (1967) the “dramatic arcs” are less pronounced. There is a greater levelling of the dramatic field, a tightening of the screws, so to speak. The colour films, particularly, have a flatter appearance, and a more implacable rhythm. Within them, the idea of grace or redemption is treated more ambiguously than in the earlier films. While A Man Escaped may seem more life-affirming than, say, L’Argent, in truth it is merely that the latter film’s affirmations are more stringently embedded. L’Argent’s Yvon seems an even more solitary figure than the prisoner Fontaine (François Leterrier), inside or outside a cell. And whereas the earlier film is a series of activities, with a character working towards something, in L’Argent things keep working against the character. The former film involves what a character does, the latter what is done to him or what he is unable to do. There are similar, more obvious differences between the endings of A Man Escaped and Le Diable, probablement (The Devil, Probably, 1977). In the former, one man helps another escape, and both run down a road at dawn; in the latter, one man shoots another, then pilfers his pockets and runs down a cemetery lane at night, eventually getting caught. There’s an obvious shift in perspective here, a greater ruthlessness in the portrayal of human inadequacy, and also a greater sense of tragedy. Oddly, this heightened tragedy is expressed in a most low-key manner. In The Devil, Probably, for example, scenes of environmental destruction play at the same pitch as Charles’ existential dilemma. Internal and external conflicts are formally and narratively equalized, and through this levelling, become linked.

In the early films there is a more pronounced feeling that moral knowledge is within reach and only in need of a crisis before it can press through the barriers of confusion and self-deception; whereas in the later films, the concentration is on the infernal workings of society and the consequent, seemingly endless deferral of [and resistance to] the revelation of truth. (36)

We are dealing with … radical invisibility. […] It is there like the other side of the world … what André Bazin nicely terms the tails side of the face of God. (37)

It might also be called God’s Ugly Face. Bresson and O’Connor focus on this face that transmits its beauty through apparent ugliness. It’s important that the stain on the wall in “The Enduring Chill” is an ugly stain, and that, in “Good Country People”, Joy chooses the ugly name of Hulga; likewise, the murders of L’Argent (an ugly jumble of chopped bodies), or the messed-up suicide-murder of The Devil, Probably (with Charles’ last words/thought abruptly shot off, his pockets pilfered). This isn’t an easy form of Christianity, beaming us love vibes from on high, but “the bleeding stinking mad shadow of Jesus” (38), horrifying us into revelation.

It’s because God is this terrifying, though creative, tension, that it’s so difficult to assert anything about him. (39)

[Their] ambiguity, [their] austerity obviously does not flatter Christians looking for a simple apologetic, a smiling and warm religion, an easy harmony between the corporeal and the spiritual. (40)

They express their faith through images and characters and styles that only seem faithless and without reverence. Initially, in O’Connor especially, this comes off as almost blasphemous, most famously, perhaps, with the murdered family in “A Good Man”. What kind of Christianity accommodates such slaughter? The action is an exercise or a test of recognition, a test we all often fail – the recognition, through others, of humanity’s connectedness or wholeness, no matter the character of the person. Bresson’s supposed lack of reverence occupies a similar place. Many of his films include apparently hopeless actions: Mouchette waving to the oblivious man on the tractor, and her subsequent suicide; Balthazar kicked, beaten and shot; Yvon’s murders. Yet what is being expressed is not spiritual cynicism so much as a play of resistance and surrender – spiritual conflict. In this, something like the suicides of Mouchette or the gentle woman become merely the sum figure arrived at through the dire mathematics of human suffering. What initially appears faithless is soon recognized and experienced as profoundly uncompromised belief. Characters suffer cruel indignities (Yvon’s Job-like trials, Hulga’s humiliation) not only that they may deserve redemption, but that they are toughened up enough – one might say, humanized enough – to receive it.

No intellectual or cerebral mechanism. Simply a mechanism. (41)

So characters step gracelessly through circumstance until revelation dawns. Unredeemed, as it were, they lack a kind of psychic or spiritual agility, and instead exhibit an obstinate powerlessness in navigating the manipulations of their spiritual fates. In short, they’re paralysed by their own conflicting wills. Asbury in “The Enduring Chill” is similar to The Devil, Probably’s Charles in that neither can reconcile himself to humanity, that is, to their individual experiences of reality. Both think of themselves as “seeing too clearly”, when, in fact, they’re blinded by the contortions of their mind’s attempt to logically explain or understand a fundamentally illogical, and quite bodily, experience.

For both, salvation seems to lie in human interaction, a revelation they resist in favour of indulging their morbidly self-centred preoccupations: rejections of institutional society that perhaps wrongly includes a rejection of human community.

In essence Bresson isolates and elevates one of the most constant and beautiful of all human characteristics, curiosity about one’s fellow men and women, by practicing it with his camera, and reminds us in the process that such curiosity is active rather than passive. (42)

The styles of both Bresson and O’Connor are marked by this active curiosity. Like those introductory shots of Yvon in L’Argent, or the flurry of deft gestures performed by the salesman in stealing Hulga’s leg, there is a steady recognition that the quickest, clearest apprehension we may have of God is through human activity. The physical is the spiritual. Therein lays the “asceticism” and the “misanthropy” of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Bresson.

Endnotes

  1. P. Adams Sitney, “The Rhetoric of Robert Bresson”, in Robert Bresson, James Quandt (Ed.) (Toronto: Cinematheque Ontario, 1998), p. 118.
  2. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1949), p. 13.
  3. Arthur Danto, “The Art World Revisited: Comedies of Similarities”, in Beyond The Brillo Box: The Visual Arts In Post-Historical Perspective (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), pp. 33-53.
  4. Flannery O’Connor, “On Her Own Work”, in Mystery and Manners (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), p. 92.
  5. Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man is Hard to Find”, in The Complete Stories (New York: Noonday Press, 1993), p. 118.
  6. Amédée Ayfre, “The Universe of Robert Bresson”, in Quandt, p. 46; emphasis mine.
  7. Bresson quoted in René Prédal, “Robert Bresson: L’Aventure intérieure”, in Quandt, p. 80.
  8. Robert Bresson, Notes on the Cinematographer (Los Angeles: Green Integer Books, 1975), p. 33.
  9. I’m not sure where I encountered this story. Can anyone help?
  10. Mystery and Manners, pp. 98, 93.
  11. Notes on the Cinematographer, p. 33.
  12. Ibid, p. 44.
  13. Mystery and Manners, p. 113.
  14. Wise Blood, p. 210.
  15. Michael Ciment, “I Seek Not Description But Vision: Robert Bresson on L’Argent”, in Quandt, p. 499.
  16. Ibid, p. 502.
  17. Notes on the Cinematographer, p. 58.
  18. Mystery and Manners, p. 76.
  19. Ayfre, in Quandt, p. 46.
  20. Wise Blood, p. 80.
  21. Notes on the Cinematographer, p. 24.
  22. Sitney, in Quandt, p. 124.
  23. Notes on the Cinematographer, p. 104.
  24. Mystery and Manners, p. 98.
  25. O’Connor, “Good Country People,” The Complete Stories, p. 290.
  26. Mystery and Manners, p. 99.
  27. The Complete Stories, p. 291.
  28. Raymond Durgnant, “The Negative Vision of Robert Bresson”, in Quandt, p. 426.
  29. Mystery and Manners, p. 99.
  30. Durgnant, in Quandt, p. 417.
  31. Ibid, p. 426.
  32. The Complete Stories, p. 286.
  33. Durgnant, in Quandt, p. 438-9; emphasis mine.
  34. Interview with Michael Ciment, in Quandt, p. 508.
  35. Wise Blood, author’s note to second edition.
  36. Kent Jones, “A Stranger’s Posture: Notes on Bresson’s Late Films”, in Quandt, p. 396.
  37. Ayfre, in Quandt, p. 52.
  38. O’Connor, The Violent Bear It Away (New York: Signet Books, 1960), p. 435.
  39. Durgnant, in Quandt, p. 439.
  40. Jean Collet, quoted in René Prédal, in Quandt, p. 74.
  41. Notes on the Cinematographer, p. 43.
  42. Jones, in Quandt, p. 396.