robert bresson on truth and feeling


The mixture of true and false yields falsity (photographed theater or CINEMA). The false when it is homogeneous can yield truth (theater).

In a mixture of true and false, the true brings out the false, the false hinders belief in the true. An actor simulating fear of shipwreck on the deck of a real ship battered by a real storm – we believe neither in the actor, nor in the ship nor in the storm. (p 10)

Let it be the feelings that bring about the events. Not the other way.

Cinematography: new way of writing, therefore of feeling. (p 15)


When the public is ready to feel before understanding, what a number of films reveal and explain everything to it! (p 59)

It is as if there are two TRUTHS: one that is dull, flat, boring, at least in the eyes of those who daub it with falsity; the other …

For want of truth, the public gets hooked on the false. Falconetti’s way of casting her eyes to heaven, in Dreyer’s film, used to draw tears. (p 65)

—from Robert Bresson’s Notes on Cinematography (New York, Urizen Books)


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