Monday, February 1, 2010

A Man Escaped (1956)

Watching this movie is more like watching a documentary than a theatre movie (although it's based on a true story), but I read that director Robert Bresson is different from others. This is a wonderful work of art. Every frame is beautifully shot. The English title is perhaps not right because there are 2 men who escaped. The original French title states that 'a death row inmate escaped'- Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut. True, there are 2 men escaped, but one of them are not from death row. The 2nd part of the title, the wind bloweth where it listeth, is from John 3:8 "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." This discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus is about being reborn, which the inmates see that once they get out of the prison, they start a new life.

Set in Lyon, 1943, this movie centers on Lieutenant Fontaine (François Leterrier), a Resistance member caught by the Nazis. This is about how he plans his escape in details, and finally realizes it. The movie is gripping from start to end. It could be more thrilling if the title was different, because with 'A Man Escaped', we knew that whatever he did, he would succeed in the end.

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