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Notes on the Cinematographer

4.32  ·  Rating Details  ·  914 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Cultural Writing. Film Studies. Translated from the French by Jonathan Griffin. Robert Bresson's NOTES ON THE CINEMATOGRAPHER is a collection of working memos which the great French director made for his own use. In all of them, Bresson reflects with a craftsman's insight on techniques and their philosophical and aesthetic implications. Not surprisingly, these acute reflec ...more
Unknown Binding, 144 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by Quartet Books (UK) (first published January 1st 1975)
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Jo Atlas Easy to buy in France in most libraries, but if you're not french, try specialized libraries (in french lit or in cinema), or online ?
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Nov 15, 2010 Mariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: eeyore without tail
Recommended to Mariel by: an actor will seek revenge
Robert Bresson Notes on the Cinematographer is my philosophy book or self-help book for putting things together in what I feel, or need, to be real in stories, images, moments. I'm sure it's one hell of a book for creative people. I don't make things so much as try to get by and live better by living elsewhere (as in outside of me). I'm not the right person to ask about that... Anyway, I'd assimilate this instead of The Little Book of Calm (as seen on the brilliant Black Books series when Manny ...more
Jan 26, 2016 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some nice interviews on youtube with this great genius:

"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 the actor, nor in the ship, nor in the
May 29, 2008 Tosh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Robert Bresson is one of my all-time favorite filmmakers - and this book doesn't take away the man's mysterious powers of the cinema. It adds to it. Bresson's film notes are poetic and beautiful. He is truly an essential figure in the arts, and one can't help to think that the cinema was made for artists like Bresson.
David M
Jan 27, 2016 David M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dennis Cooper (charming author of Frisk) once wrote this rather beautiful appreciation of Bresson:

' Instead of flaunting their difference, or feigning modesty by deferring to the conventions of Hollywood film, they offer up an art so unimpeachably fair, so lacking in ulterior motivation that the effect is a kind of mimicry of what perception might be like were one capable of simultaneously perceiving clearly and appreciating the process by which perception
Jul 10, 2012 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collection of insights into making movies, an art Bresson calls "cinematography," not to be confused with what's commonly called cinematography or cinema. It's more like the flow of life captured by the director's diving rods of camera and tape recorder. Actors are called "models" -- and they should be unrecognizable conveyors of volitionless expression, or something like that. The whole thing's very French, very Zen, stressing silence, intuition, economy. Metaphorically valuable for those not m ...more
Alborz Taheri
Mar 29, 2013 Alborz Taheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
برسون : ایده تو خالیِ "سینمای هنری" و "فیلمِ هنری". فیلم های هنری، فیلم هایی که بیش از همه عاری از هنرند.
یادداشت ها - جملات - برسون در باب فیلمسازی پیش از هر چیز نشان دهنده طرز تفکر او درباره فیلمسازی است . تاکیدش بر تفاوت سینمای عکاسی شده - که همانند تآتری است که از آن عکس گرفتند - با سینما خلاق ، تاکیدش بر استفاده از نابازیگر به جای بازیگران حرفه ایی ، تاکیدش بر عدم نیاز به موسیقی در سینما . و... همه از سینمای او میگویند . همین طور می توان ردپا و مولقه های واضحی از سینمای - به اصطلاح - مینیمال
Rida Hariri
Apr 11, 2012 Rida Hariri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cinema
يقول عباس كياروستامي عن بريسون أنه أحب كتابته ونظرياته السينمائية أكثر من أفلامه,,أنا حتى اللحظة أشعر بالشيء نفسه بعد مشاهدة محاكمة جان دارك,النشال وموشيت لكن لم أشاهد له بعد لا المال ولا فيلمه الأشهر مذكرات قسّ ريفي..
أجمل ما في بريسون هو إيمانه بالسينما كفن مختلف عن بقية الفنون الأمر الذي لا يزال الكثيرون حتى الآن يخلطون بينها وبين بقية الفنون دون أن يستطيعوا أن يفهموا السينما كفّن قائم بذاته..
Nov 15, 2009 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahhhhh, yes!!:

Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.

Because you do not have to imitate, like painters, sculptors, novelists, the appearance of persons and objects (machines do that for you), your creation or invention confines itself to the ties you knot between the various bits of reality caught. There is also the choice of the bits. Your flair decides.

One does not create by adding, but by taking away. To develop is another matter. (Not to spread out.)

When you do n
Aug 08, 2008 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not to attempt a review when the reading is enough.
Jun 28, 2012 Joowy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
«The thing that matters is not what they show me but what they hide from me and, above all, what they do not suspect is in them.»

«A whole made of good images can be detestable.»

«The noises must become music.»

«Catch instants. Spontaneity, freshness.»

«Unbalance so as to re-balance.»

«Be the first to see what you see as you see it.»

«Make visible what, without you, might never have been seen.»

«It is in its pure form that an art hits hard.»

«Empty the pond to get the fish.»

«Provoke the unexpected. Expe
كتاب جميل للمهتمين ، التدوينات قصيرة جداً ، واعني بالقصيرة ممكن تاتي تدوينة على عدة كلمات وأقل من سطر، ومتفرقة في المحتوى لايوجد سرد فعلي في الكتاب، غالبا بريسون كتبها بشكل عشوائي دون تخطيط عدة افكار وآراء حول التصوير السينمائي وهويته ، الترجمة + تنسيق الكتاب افسدت جزء من المتعة
Oct 07, 2007 Rodney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
A tidy, Zen-like summation of the special aesthetic Bresson brought to film. Bresson wanted faces, not actors; events, not scenes; "BEING instead of SEEMING." To this end he insisted on amateurs over trained actors, noises over music, slowness and close-ups over speed and pans. Cinematography as Bresson explains it here is a unique form of writing. His efforts to make an essentially mechanical & visual medium parallel the inwardness of the written word has to be one of the strangest and most ...more
sohrab mohajer
Dec 24, 2015 sohrab mohajer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سلوک یک کارگردان در سینمای عرفانی فرانسه
Joe M
Feb 01, 2016 Joe M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Bresson was an influential French director who made 13 films over the course of five decades. This brief book of evocative reflections and aphorisms reveals his unique theories about filmmaking, which resulted in a style often described as “spiritual” or “ascetic.” Bresson called what he did ‘cinematography’ (not the same as its common use in movie parlance: camera operation and placement) and used ‘models.’ In his films, models were non-professionals. They were instructed to simply read ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Sofia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently constructing my own vade mecum. This is one of The Books.
Maged Nader
Jun 17, 2015 Maged Nader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مببقاش متأكد من رأيي في بيرسون. بحب فيلم "النشال" وبحب "رجل هرب" بس عمرس ما حبيت "ماشيتي" ولا بتلزار
وحبيت مذكرات كاهن القرية
بس عموما دايما بحس بلحظات عظيمة في أفلامة, وفي طريقة تحريكه للكاميرا.
عموما الكتاب في ملاحظات قوية جدا. وهي أقرب لتجميع لتدوينات اللي كان بيكتبها أثناء عمله. وكنت أتمني أنه كان كتب كتاب يشرح فيه بأستفاضة نظرياته السينمائية.
.الترجمة مش عظيمة, بس أفضل من ترجمة طبعة سوريا

نوعان من الأفلام: تلك التي تستخد وسائل المسرح مستعينة بالكاميرا بهدف
Ali Reda
Jan 28, 2016 Ali Reda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
To Bresson, art is the only possible escape from the bitterness of impotence. But it is also much more. It gives way to the only visible part of the being, its merging part. This is why Bresson is so close to the art of painting. The real image is what is hidden in a painting.
("At each touch I risk my life.")
No absolute value in an image. Images and sounds will owe their value and their power solely to the use to which you des-tine them. An image must be transformed by contact with other images
Taha Abed
Aug 21, 2015 Taha Abed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
if I wanna describe it then I would say its Wittgenstein's on Cinema. its radical, simplistic and impactful.
Daniel Iván
Jul 08, 2015 Daniel Iván rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read this book for the 9th or 10th time this year. Its insightful, cryptic prose and its meticulous manufacture make it unavoidable while looking for solid perspectives of cinema and all the crafts involved in its final configuration. Bresson's telegraphic style is designed to alert you about a bunch of deep issues of the cinematographic phenomena: a glimpse, a voyeuristic approach far away from any academic affectation. Almost a poem.

By the way, this book is a direct antecedent of "The Lords:
مزامير القديس بريسون، شفيع السينما.
Jan 01, 2008 Tyler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peter O'leary
Aug 25, 2007 Peter O'leary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thoughtful people, filmmakers, artists
This book is a little difficult to evaluate, especially since it wasn't really meant for publication. These are notes and memos that Robert Bresson took for his own consideration as he developed into a master director. Something like koans from a western mind, the book is a collection of thoughts that you might meditate upon as you reflect upon your own artistic (or non-artistic) endeavors.

I refer to it often when I'm feeling at a loss for ideas. You can find it for a couple bucks, so there's no
May 13, 2015 Germán rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Valiosa (y ya inmortal) aportación del maestro francés, que pone su empeño en desembarazar al cine (el cinematógrafo) de las otras artes, dando prioridad al uso de modelos reales y al minimalismo: es decir, los mismos elementos que posee el cine más transgresor de la actualidad (Serra, Guerín, Costa...).
Jul 25, 2011 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This modest collections of aphorisms would not be in print were it not for the (justified) stature of its author as a metteur en scene. It is, however, a perfect example of why motion pictures have a niche in the realm of art--just as there are sentiments which can be expressed with prose (and not visually), the converse is also true. Bresson's attempts to express the ineffable "soul" of his filmmaking in words is largely pointless and doomed to frustration. His films, such as Journal d'un curé ...more
Kit Fox
Mar 29, 2012 Kit Fox rated it it was amazing
Comprised of concise, zen koan-like observations on film, this is exactly the kind of book (or amalgamation of notations) one would expect from Bresson. I was particularly taken by his thoughts on the use of music in film. To wit: "Music takes up all the room and gives no increased value to the image to which it is added." And, "Music. It isolates your film from the life of your film (musical delectation). It is a powerful modifier and even destroyer of the real, like alcohol or dope." And, with ...more
Daniel van Flymen
I felt, after concluding this tiny collection of transcribed handwritten quotes, that I had an inkling of what art was and meant.
Jan 17, 2016 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Milton: Silence was pleased. (58)
Panji Wibowo
Bacaan WAJIB sutradara film!
Jul 13, 2014 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tao of Bresson. A distillation of what he sought in his own work as well as what he opposed in Hollywood cinema.

From narrative philosophy: "Let the cause follow the effect, not accompany it or precede it."

To his disdain for the star-actor persona: "...forces the public to look for talent on his face, instead of the enigma peculiar to each living creature."

With some borrowed bits from artists and philosophers: "Rousseau: 'I did not seek to do like the others nor otherwise.'"

Feb 27, 2009 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this is a fabulous little book -- really jottings, one line thoughts and aphorisms, notes to himself really, from the fabulous one-of-a-kind filmmaker. He's got his own terminology and way of working -- in his jargon 'cinema' is bad, "filmed theatre" -- and 'cinematography' is good -- making films with all traces of theatrical expression expunged. (He uses the word 'cinematography' in his own way, not what everyone else means by it.)
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vision 8 14 Nov 15, 2013 01:53PM  
سایت فیلمسازی (حل مشکل فیلمسازان 1 3 Nov 24, 2011 01:01PM  
  • What is Cinema?: Volume I
  • Sculpting in Time
  • Cassavetes on Cassavetes
  • Film as a Subversive Art
  • Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard
  • Cinema 1: The Movement-Image
  • Godard on Godard: Critical Writings
  • Film Form: Essays in Film Theory
  • My Last Sigh
  • Transcendental Style in Film: Ozu, Bresson, Dreyer
  • Poetics of Cinema
  • Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings
  • Hitchcock
  • Kieslowski on Kieslowski
  • Images: My Life in Film
  • Negative Space: Manny Farber on the Movies
  • The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968
  • Herzog on Herzog
Robert Bresson (French: [ʁɔbɛʁ bʁɛsɔ]; 25 September 1901 – 18 December 1999) was a French film director known for his spiritual, ascetic and aesthetic style. He contributed notably to the art of film and influenced the French New Wave. He is often referred to as the most highly regarded French filmmaker after Jean Renoir.Bresson's influence on French cinema was once described by Jean-Luc Godard, q ...more
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“Bring together things that have not yet been brought together and did not seem predisposed to be so.” 20 likes
“Cinematography is a writing with images in mouvement and with sounds.” 19 likes
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