A MAN ESCAPED (1956) B/W 101m dir: Robert Bresson

w/Francois Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod, Jacques Ertaud, Jean Paul Delhumeau, Roger Treherne, Jean Philippe Delamarre, Jacques Oerlemans, Klaus Detlef Grevenhorst, Leonhard Schmidt, Roger Planchon

From the Turner Classic Movies website, www.tcm.com, this article about the film by Glenn Erickson: "Critics that praise French director Robert Bresson often remark on his ascetic, severe approach. He's noted for using non-actors and then directing them with a method intended to remove all vestiges of 'acting.' When pressed, Bresson explained that his intent was to reject all theatrical elements in favor of pure cinema. His A Man Escaped (1956) is a unique suspense film that boldly exhibits the director's penchant for paring story and character down to bare essentials. Also known as The Wind Blows Where It Wants, the account of an escape from a Gestapo prison in occupied France creates suspense without trickery or dramatic exaggeration. There is little direct dialogue. Based on the experiences of actual Resistance hero André Divigny, the condemned Lt. Fontaine (François Leterrier) prepares his daring prison break by fashioning tools from objects in his cell and carefully dismantling the wooden door. We know only what our hero sees and hears, and he can't see much from his narrow cell window. In place of patriotic speeches about faith or human resolve, Bresson's film concentrates on the stark reality that Fontaine is betting his life on every detail of his plan. Does he have a chance? Fontaine continues to pass notes to his comrades, even after his captors threaten to execute anyone caught with a pencil. Just when he's ready to make his move, a second prisoner is placed in his cell, a French conscript soldier. Is this fellow a plant, an informer for the Germans? Fontaine must either kill him or take him along on the escape. This spare tale of pure mental calculation and self-reliance is Bresson's most hopeful film. He avoids patriotic heroics but does deliver one moment of 'history shock.' When Fontaine is escorted into a building in Lyon, the camera tilts up to see a sign reading 'Hôtel Terminus.' That hotel housed the Gestapo office of the dreaded war criminal Klaus Barbie."