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At the Movies

Michael Wood: The Devil and Robert Bresson

5 June 2008
Le Diable, probablement 
directed by Robert Bresson.
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... The devil is in the detail, they say, and this is certainly the case with the films of RobertBresson. And if the devil is there, God can’t be far away. Or can he? These are very curious details, bits of the real but not part of any attempt at realism, pieces of a puzzle that may not even exist ...

Just How It was

Anne Hollander: The work of Henri Cartier-Bresson

7 May 1998
Tête à Tête: Portraits by Henri Cartier-Bresson 
edited by E.H. Gombrich.
Thames and Hudson, 144 pp., £32, February 1998, 9780500542187
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Henri Cartier-BressonEuropeans 
edited by Jean Clair.
Thames and Hudson, 231 pp., £29.95, January 1998, 0 500 28052 5
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... Like Titian’s, Cartier-Bresson’s work began as the mirror of one epoch and is ending as that of another, simply because he invented the best mirror and kept polishing it Cartier-Bresson’s influence has been immense since his beginnings, not just on photography but on cinema and photojournalism, so that he has been largely responsible for 20th-century notions of what a superior ...

Nothing to Do with Me

Gaby Wood: Henri Cartier-Bresson

4 June 2014
Henri Cartier-Bresson 
Pompidou Centre, until 8 June 2015Show More
‘Voir est un tout’: Entretiens et conversations 1951-98 
by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Centre Pompidou, 176 pp., €19.90, January 2014, 978 2 84426 639 2
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Henri Cartier-BressonHere and Now 
edited by Clément Chéroux.
Thames and Hudson, 400 pp., £45, March 2014, 978 0 500 54430 3
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... At​ the Pompidou Centre in Paris, a two-hour wait will get you ‘priority access’ to the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition. It’s available only to friends of the museum, members of the press, and those who bought tickets in advance and naively thought they’d walk straight in. As the American woman behind ...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville

20 June 2019
Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... it to find, underneath some pressed shirts, the 1942 novel of the Resistance by Vercors on which the film is based. The pages of the novel reveal the credits: a device, as André Bazin noted, that RobertBresson borrowed for his 1951 adaptation of Georges Bernanos’s Diary of a Country Priest. Melville’s early films were bookish, and rather talky. But in the early 1960s he began to hone back his ...

At the Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: ‘Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today’

6 January 2005
... has Weegee’s flash-lit New Yorkers, dead on the street or looking at others dead on the street. Is this the truth? Or is the truth to be found in the nuanced available light of René Burri, Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa? ‘Truth’ not just in the sense of true to appearances. Are human beings like Weegee’s excited grinning bystanders? Or are they like Cartier-Bresson’s self-contained passers-by ...
6 December 2012
... qui auront vécu leur vie humaine’. One of the speakers was Florence Delay who, under the pseudonym Florence Carrez, played the title role in Le Procès de Jeanne d’Arc, the classic film made by RobertBresson in 1962; Delay became a writer not long after her role in Bresson’s film, and is now an académicienne. She drew attention to Péguy’s dream of fusing faith, hope and charity with the ...

Fashville

Robert​ Tashman

9 March 1995
Prêt-à-Porter 
directed by Robert​ Altman.
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... the fashion editors and designers are tough but endearing. Fashion is shown as it was then: a big business, but not, as it is now, a corporate power that crosses national and class borders. Robert Altman’s new film, Prêt-à-Porter, is like La Dolce Vita grafted onto Funny Face. The unaffected and trusting Hepburn and Astaire would be marginalised or crushed in the fashion world portrayed ...

At the Barbican

Liz Jobey: Strange and Familiar

1 June 2016
... upside-down at her side. The Bus Conductress and Postman, taken in 1977, might have stepped out of Sander’s taxonomy, People of the 20th Century, were it not for their local insignia. Henri Cartier-Bresson, for the purposes of this exhibition, is cast as a royal reporter. In 1937, his first year working for the French communist daily Ce Soir, he covered the coronation of George VI, turning his back on ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are

5 July 2007
... doubt about the category a print belonged in. As time passed, however, categories came to depend less on the nature of the photograph than on where and how it was seen. The work of Weegee and Cartier Bresson had a first life as news, in papers and magazines, and a second in books, as art. In classic photographic monographs, a form established in the mid-20th century, most images have a page to themselves ...

In Transit

Geoff Dyer: Garry Winogrand

20 June 2013
... canyons of midtown Manhattan into a white-water flow of people, rapids of entanglement giving way to pools of unexpected calm. But he wasn’t simply a New York photographer-novelist. Convinced that Robert Frank had missed out on the real story of America in the 1950s – the story of the suburbs – he made his way across the country, and his travels put him in an entirely different relation to ...
24 May 1990
Innumeracy 
by John Allen Paulos.
135 pp., £12.95, November 1989, 0 670 83008 9
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The Culture of Print 
edited by Roger Chartier.
351 pp., £35, September 1989, 0 7456 0575 3
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Symbols of Ideal Life 
by Maren Stange.
Cambridge, 190 pp., £25, June 1989, 0 521 32441 6
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TheLines of My Hand 
by Robert​ Frank.
£30, September 1989, 0 436 16256 3
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... Brady’s Civil War pictures to Eugene Smith’s essays for Life, American photographs in this tradition are without the frivolity, irony, formalism or obliquity of Europeans like Kertez, Cartier Bresson or Sander. By putting the American work in its context, however, Stange is able to show that, however direct they may seem, they were as integral a part of the manipulation of the political will as ...

Dreams of the Decades

Liz Jobey: Bill Brandt

8 July 2004
Bill Brandt: A Life 
by Paul Delany.
Cape, 336 pp., £35, March 2004, 0 224 05280 2
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Bill Brandt: A Centenary Retrospective 
Victoria & Albert MuseumShow More
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... incomplete’. This is particularly evident in the early chapters of his book, when he relies on Buddenbrooks for life among the haute bourgeoisie in prewar Germany and Swiss sanatoria, and Robert Musil’s Young Törless for possible events during Brandt’s schooldays. Where there is no proof, there is supposition. For example: ‘There is ample evidence that Brandt suffered a psychic wound ...

Building with Wood

Gilberto Perez: Time and Tarkovsky

26 February 2009
Tarkovsky 
by Nathan Dunne.
Black Dog, 464 pp., £29.95, February 2008, 978 1 906155 04 9
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Andrei Tarkovsky: Elements of Cinema 
by Robert​ Bird.
Reaktion, 255 pp., £15.95, April 2008, 978 1 86189 342 0
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... to look at the Madonna del Parto; but on arriving at the church he tells her he doesn’t want to go in, and she enters the crypt alone. ‘Three kinds of space dominate all Tarkovsky’s films,’ Robert Bird writes: ‘nature, the home, and the shrine or cathedral.’ The ‘cathedral space is demonstrated most fully at the beginning of Nostalghia . . . in the rigorously geometrical yet ...

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