by Jim Ridley
Pieces of that series played in Nashville, to bigger and bigger audiences. The capper was probably a 2000 Nashville Premieres presentation of Au hasard Balthazar — Bresson's transcendent 1966 film about the brutal life and peaceful passing of a donkey, which the director rigorously refuses to anthropomorphize — and that Belcourt screening was so hard to pull off that the organizers had to enlist the aid of the French consulate. But local viewers never got the chance to immerse themselves in the director's work that a proper retrospective allows.
That's about to change. With the help of TIFF Cinematheque's James Quandt, who was instrumental in the earlier series, the first North American retrospective of Bresson's films in 14 years is currently showing at New York's Film Forum, the cinema that sets the agenda for much of the nation's arthouse programming, before making a wider tour. Among its stops is Nashville, where The Belcourt will play nine of Bresson's 13 full-length films in March — from his 1943 feature debut Les anges du péché (shown here for the first time) to his chilling final film, 1983's L'Argent.
Below, we've got the schedule for the Nashville series. Maybe someday we'll get a peek at his first film, the 1934 musical comedy (!) short "Les affaires publique," but what's here is not to be missed. And from what Belcourt program director Toby Leonard tells us, it's only part of an extraordinary month for world cinema in Hillsboro Village. But we've been sworn to secrecy about all that ... for now ...
Fri-Sun, Mar. 9-11 A MAN ESCAPED (new print)
Sat, Mar. 10 LES ANGES DU PECHE (new print)
Sun, Mar. 11 PICKPOCKET
Tue, Mar. 13 THE DEVIL, PROBABLY (new print)
Sun, Mar. 18 LES DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE
Tue, Mar. 20 LANCELOT OF THE LAKE
Sun, Mar. 25 L'ARGENT (new print)
Sun, Apr. 1 DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST (new print)
Sun, Apr. 8 AU HASARD BALTHAZAR