In Ambricourt, an idealistic young Priest (Claude Laydu) arrives to be the local parish priest. He attempts to live a Christ-like life, but his actions are misunderstood. The community of the small town does not accept him, and although having a serious disease in the stomach, the inexperienced and frail priest tries to help the dwellers, and has a situation with the wealthy family of the location.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
According to the DVD's commentary, Claude Laydu felt repelled by Robert Bresson's directing methods. He claimed Bresson "would work on an actor, like a sculptor models his clay". The commentary says: "Bresson worked with Laydu every Sunday for a year, persuading him gradually into the role. He lived for many weeks with a group of young priests, absorbing their mannerisms and gestures, and during shooting he starved himself so as to acquire the authentic mask of undernourishment and illness." See more »
The kind of integrity and faith so strong and real, it frightens even the church
A young priest has been assigned his first parish in a village somewhere in the North of France. Right from the first, essential opening shot in beautiful black and white, we instinctively get a sense of his isolation from any other human being. As the final credits rolled by, I don't know why I had the impulse to restart the DVD, and I watched the first 5 minutes of the movie again, realising just how much of a harbinger of extreme loneliness the opening frames are. Diary of a Country Priest is in good part about loneliness - the extreme physical, emotional and intellectual isolation of those who embark on an earnest mission, with an inability to compromise and a sincerity (with its resulting emotional vulnerability) which both frightens and repulses those who aren't ready to receive it. I was especially thankful to Bresson for having left us with a film about a priest which didn't involve his tiresome sexual issues in any shape or form - what a refreshing change! In the role of the young parish priest of Ambricourt, young Claude Laydu was in his debut role here - though he very occasionally shows his inexperience as an actor, he is nonetheless remarkable in the title role, and his sensitive, silently suffering, candid boyish face will remain with me for quite a while. It's extraordinary that such a movie, so completely devoid of any mass appeal or commercial potential, should have found someone willing to fund it. This kind of thing restores one's faith in the integrity and vision of certain cinematic enterprises.
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