- Actors: Jacques Ertaud, Francois Leterrier, Roland Monod, Charles LeClainche, Roger Planchon
- Directors: Robert Bresson
- Producers: Alain Poir, Jean Thuillier
- Format: Black & White, Subtitled, NTSC
- Language: French
- Subtitles: French, English
- Region: Region A/1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Criterion
- Release Date: March 26 2013
- Run Time: 101 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00AQ6J3AG
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,740 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
A Man Escaped (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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A Man Escaped (Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
"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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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
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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
A captured French resistance fighter in WW II awaits execution at the hands of the Nazi’s afraid, confused (this is no Hollywood hero, but a real human) he nevertheless contrives to find a way to escape before he is put to death. We watch him plan and prepare, slowly, methodically, as one would have to do, and yet with a ticking clock always bringing him closer to doom.
Beautifully and simply shot, with strong performances (Bresson’s penchant for nonprofessional actors meant that on occasion his work can be hindered by a weak performance, but that’s not the case here). More accessible than some of Bresson’s work for being less metaphorical, this might be a good place to start for someone interested in first sampling the work of this great French film-maker. I look forward to seeing it again.
The performances are very strong (Bresson was still aiming for naturalistic performances at this time) and the Christian allegory - that we want redemption but instinctively back away from it - is not overstrained: although this time round I noticed a few more references to religion than I recalled, it's there if you want to see it but never at the cost of turning the movie into a sermon.
The film has gone through various video, DVD and Blu-ray incarnations. New Yorker's source material for their deleted NTSC DVD is not especially good, but considering how bad most 35mm prints that go round the revival circuit are, it may well be a case of making the best of what material was available to them. Artificial Eye's UK Region 2 PAL DVD is a distinct improvement on New Yorker's version. Although it doesn't have the unsubtitled trailer included on the US release, it does have a good 54-minute Dutch documentary, The Road to Bresson, and superior picture quality. The French Blu-ray from Gaumont is very impressive, though the extras are unsubtitled - something rectified by Criterion's excellent edition on DVD and Region A-locked Blu-ray tha includes the trailer (subtitled this time), The Road to Bresson documentary, and documentary The Essence of Forms, episode of Cineastes du Notre Temps - Bresson Without a Trace, offering Bresson's fist on-camera interview, visual essay Functions of Film Sound and booklet.