"Bresson Without A Trace," a 1965 episode of the television program Cinéastes De Notre Temps in which the director gives his first on-camera interview
The Road To Bresson, a 1984 documentary featuring interviews with filmmakers Louis Malle, Paul Schrader, and Andrei Tarkovsky
The Essence Of Forms, a documentary from 2010 in which collaborators and admirers of Bresson's, including actor François Leterrier and director Bruno Dumont, share their thoughts about the director and his work
Functions Of Film Sound, a new visual essay on the use of sound in A Man Escaped, with text by film scholars David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson
Premiere - 09/01/1994
"...A masterwork of cinematic simplicity..." - Recommended
Entertainment Weekly - 08/12/1994
"...[We too] experience the prisoner's anxieties about imminent death or freedom." -- Rating: A+
USA Today - 08/26/1994
"...Bresson's fact-based French masterpiece..."
USA Today - 05/28/2004
"Director Robert Bresson's fact-based French masterpiece..."
Sight and Sound - 08/01/2008
"[With] a balance of form and content as perfect as that of the Mozart mass which occasionally underscores the action."
Avoiding all the clichés of the prison movie genre, Robert Bresson achieves the impossible in A MAN ESCAPED: he presents a highly minimalist depiction of a prisoner plotting a jailbreak, and is still able to evoke incredible suspense despite the fact that the movie frequently consists of little more than a man toiling away quietly in his cell.
Neither Bresson's seemingly odd choice of a past-tense title, nor the fact that the film is based on a real WWII event in which a prisoner successfully escaped a German-run jail in occupied France, lessens the film's impact. As in many of Bresson's films, the protagonist is a possessed individual whose mission sustains him. While he may stubbornly continue planning, the viewer sees the potential hazards he may encounter and feels an incredible sense of tension each time his efforts are stalled. Bresson inserts a spiritual element into the prisoner's behavior by emphasizing the ritualistic nature of his daily activities, and by showing how group activity and trust are required to resist the evil, personified by the Nazi captors. Gripping and sublime, A MAN ESCAPED is a cinematic masterpiece.
A resistance fighter plans his escape from a Nazi prison while his scheduled execution grows nearer. A tense and intelligent thriller.
Essential Cinema |
Prison / Prisoners |
Theatrical Release |
World War II
The film was shot in the actual setting in which the action takes place, the Fort Monluc prison in Lyon, France.
Bresson won the Best Director prize at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival.
The film was voted Best Film of the Year by the French Film Academy.