Four Nights of a Dreamer

Four Nights of a Dreamer ★★★★

Added to Robert Bresson ranked (complete!)
andThe Prettiest Pictures

I'm really struggling to decide what I make of this. I know I loved it in a lot of ways but it's also by far Bresson's strangest and most odd and confusing film -- not because of any particular surrealism but for the almost dreamlike mood and how purely oneiric it feels.
What we are presented with is by far Bresson's most gorgeous film, one of the most visually arresting I've ever seen, making use of mirrors and reflections, perhaps to show the separation of dreams, imagination and fantasy and the real world? We follow the lonely Jacques who bonds with a woman over the course of four short nights after saving her from a suicide attempt. The two tell each other their stories and we see them through the use of flashbacks that cover their personalities so well despite being no more than maybe 10 minutes each.
Jacques is a painter living in his studio, working on two paintings at once, he records his dreams into a tape recorder and plays them back to himself as he works (and sleeps and rides the bus).
Marthe is a young woman who lives with her mother, unable to survive off of such little money they rent out a spare room to male lodgers (a trick by mother to help make Marthe meet a man to marry) and eventually she falls for a recent graduate who has to leave for a year, leaving her lonely.

It's a fascinating film and, for now, sits just outside of Bresson's 5 greatest works, I have completed the French master's filmography; on his birthday, and I'm glad I've managed to end on one that feels challenging and interesting even when I've grown so accustomed to the director's style. I'd like to revisit this soon but for now I'm sure this will be a work I think about often.

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