Rhythms of Images and Sounds in Two Films by Robert Bresson

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Abstract

Robert Bresson did not only distribute musical excerpts and sounds in his films, but also often conceived the whole film running in a general rhythm, including the repetition and variation of shots in their contents and length. David Bordwell (1985) considered Bresson’s films as examples of the style centred “parametric mode of narration.” More than that, after Jean-Louis Provoyeur (2003), we consider that many shots in Bresson’s films have a characteristic of “denarrativization,” a conception based on musicality, devoid of representational constraints. One example is the tournament sequence in Lancelot of the Lake (Bresson, 1974), in which visual and sound elements are repeated as a “cell” with variations in length, angle of shot and with addition or suppression of elements. The author also analyses some aspects of The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962), in which the rhythmic sensation is created by the procedure of repetitive alternation of image, speech and space.1

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