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  • A Man Escaped (Version française) [Import]
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A Man Escaped (Version française) [Import]

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A Man Escaped (Version française) [Import] + Criterion Collection: Pickpocket (Version française)
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Product Details

  • Actors: François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod, Jacques Ertaud
  • Directors: Robert Bresson
  • Writers: Robert Bresson, André Devigny
  • Producers: Alain Poiré, Jean Thuillier
  • Format: Black & White, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: New Yorker Video
  • Release Date: May 25 2004
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001Y4LE6

Product Description

"This story is true," reads the opening statement of A Man Escaped. "I give it as it is, without embellishment." Based on the memoir by Andre Devigny, a member of the French Resistance imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Gestapo during the German occupation, Bresson (himself at one time a German POW) transforms Devigny's daring escape into an ascetic film of documentary detail. Kept in a tiny stone cell with a high window and a thick wooden door, the prisoner (renamed Fontaine in the film) makes himself intimate with his world--every surface of his room, every sound reverberating through the hall, and every detail of the prison's layout that he can absorb in brief sojourns from his cell. Bresson magnifies every detail with insistent close-ups and detailed examinations of every step of Fontaine's plan, from constructing and hiding ropes and hooks to painstakingly carving out an exit in the heavy cell door, and provides a sort of Greek chorus of fellow prisoners. This is Bresson's first film to feature a completely nonprofessional cast drilled to master precise movements and deliver lines without dramatic inflection. The effect is a drama where the slightest gesture carries the weight of a confession. Bresson's films are not for everybody, and this austere picture hardly carries the visceral punch of The Great Escape, but it's a drama of profound power, with a gripping climax that's as absorbing and tense as any high-energy action film. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael W. Perry on Feb. 20 2009
Format: DVD
This 1956 film demonstrates that a small budget doesn't mean a bad film. It clearly deserved to win the twin awards: 'Best Director, Cannes Film Festival,' and 'Best Film of the Year' from the French Film Academy.

The film describes what it was like to be a political prisoner of the Germans in Paris during WWII. In their efforts to keep down resistance, both the guilty and innocent were arrested, convicted and executed. This is the story of one of those prisoners and his meticulous efforts to find a way to escape, supported and encouraged by his fellow prisoners.

My only complaint is that the horrors of this time were muted by the director. Beatings and executions take place off camera and Germans appear only fleetingly. Perhaps that was because in 1956 the terrors of the Nazi occupation was too recent to dwell on.

Michael W. Perry, editor of Dachau Liberated : The Official Report
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo on June 3 2004
Format: DVD
Bresson made his most epical film in all his artistic career.
This movie is a homage to the best a man can do when he's persuaded for get that goal.
The story is simple. A prisoner makes his first attempt for escape and he's back to prision. But he's convinced with such passion and inner power that his fellow realize about that and help him for his achievement.
Lyrical and surrounded for arresting images, a perfect script , under the direction of the master of masters, Robert Bresson.
What the genius has of beauty is that it looks like the rest of the world and however, nobody looks like him. (Balzac)
This work is one of the supreme treasures of the french cinema and one of the best top five films all around the world ever filmed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 48 reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Best film to get started with Bresson May 29 2005
By Nathan Andersen - Published on
Format: DVD
This is the first Bresson film I ever saw and it stunned me. Since then, I have seen most of his other films and each one is remarkable, though a few stand out: Diary of a Country Priest, Au Hazard Balthaaar, Pickpocket, L'Argent. Still, this film is unique in that it retains the austere, minimalist and ultimately spiritual style of the others, and at the same time is a gripping thriller.

You might say of this film -- though Bressonian purists might hate me for saying this -- that Bresson uses his anti-Hollywood style to outdo Hollywood style. What I mean is: Bresson is known for revealing only what is absolutely essential, a gesture, an item, two hands engaged in an activity, feet walking. This has the effect of encouraging the viewer to pay attention, but also, because it forces no specific interpretation upon these items, encouraging the viewer to participate in the unfolding of events, and become more than merely a spectator. Hollywood style tends also to eliminate much of what is inessential, but to a much different end: to eliminate moments where the viewer might be distracted and think about something other than the film; the aim is to replace thought with the action on the screen, rather than to stimulate thought. In the case of this film, however, where the subject matter is a prison breakout (standard Hollywood fare) the minimalist style employed by Bresson is able to achieve both a high degree of tension, and a high level of involvement. From the moment the prisoner is in the prison, nothing is shown except what is relevant to the single-minded focus of the prisoner: to escape. In that sense, it is not at the end that the man escapes (as already announced in the title of the film), but from the very beginning he is escaped in the sense that he never accepts the status of imprisonment. The film is able to show this without ever having him discuss the matter with anyone. Remarkable.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Not only escape, but redemption Jan. 12 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: VHS Tape
One of the finest films I've ever seen, painted with a spare but rich brush this is truly a masterpiece. The subtitle of this film is "Where the wind listeth" taken from the biblical passage concerning a man being born again. This seems to get lost in some reviews of this gem, but I think it is its underlying theme, redemption and grace.
I've never seen a film that truly kept me so involved and on the edge of my chair. Bresson lets this story tell itself from the beginning as you watch the main character's hands and feel his hesitation and his desperation. A man so fully human and yet touched and guided by an amazing grace that takes him step by step and leaves him free in the truest sense of the word.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A Man Escaped--so did the print Dec 28 2005
By Sandy - Published on
Format: DVD
This is one of cinema's great achievements, a testament of the combination of elements (subject, visual style, photographic image, movement, sound, background music, character, montage) are perfectly blended into a unique experience. The New Yorker print, however, is the worst copy of this film (16mm, 35mm, television screenings) I have ever seen. This was a copy with a lack of contrast, extra noise on the track, looking like a dub. If only there was a decent attempt to attain anything better would have begun to do the film justice. As it is, enjoy what you're stuck with but know there's something better out there.

Burt Shapiro
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
probably the best use of sound in any film March 2 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: VHS Tape
Robert Bressons unique way of using sound in this film, helps making it one of the most suspenseful films I've ever seen. I can recommend it to anyone who wants something more than "just another film".
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding film by the master film maker, Paul Bresson! March 11 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: VHS Tape
What is the lesson from this film? Was it just the true story about how "a man escaped" from a Nazi prison? No, it is a film about human endurance in the face of great adversity.It shows how one man's determination can surmount seemingly impossible odds. Bresson depicts this in a minimalistic manner that uses small events to heighten the dramatic tension. As all of his movies, this one will linger, long after seeing it, in your memory.