On Diary of a Country Priest (Dispatch from the Dark Ages)

30Nov08

In which The Gay Recluse loves Robert Bresson.

Marine Defaced

In Diary of a Country Priest (1951), Robert Bresson offers us a portrait of a beautiful and painfully sensitive young priest who has just arrived to his new parish. For reasons that are never quite explained, the priest is mocked and detested by the local citizens; those who hate him include a rich young aristocratic heiress, her father the count, and a mob of ignorant young teenage farm girls (i.e., it’s not a class issue).

Marine Defaced

At one point, he does make a connection with the aristocrat’s wife — who in her grief over a dead son has shut herself off from the world — but she dies the next day and her evil daughter spreads malicious rumors that the priest caused this, when in fact he had guided the countess to a place of solace and peace.

Marine Defaced

The genius of Bresson in this film is less in the story than the seamless transitions between the priest’s awkward conversations with others and his own mental dialogue, in which he narrates for us — i.e., the audience — his discomfort and seeming incomprehension with regard to the pain the world never ceases to bring to him, despite his best intentions.

Marine Defaced

For some reason, nobody interprets this as an allegory of a gay man, striving to come to terms with his humanity in the dark ages.

Marine Defaced

But we know better, particularly when the priest flees the country to the city, where he is blessed by those like him who have fallen from grace, and in this way returns to it.

Advertisements


2 Responses to “On Diary of a Country Priest (Dispatch from the Dark Ages)”

  1. I love this image.

  2. Thanks, C.Edwards — it’s a photograph of some graffiti done by yours truly at the local subway stop. Read more here: https://thegayrecluse.com/2007/11/20/on-tears-for-the-gay-recluse/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: