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Notes on the Cinematographer

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,385 Ratings  ·  87 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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Richard Bresson, Robert. Notes on the Cinematograph. Trans. Jonathan Griffin. New York: NYRB. Also available as an e-book.
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Mar 02, 2013 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
Oct 03, 2010 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
David M
Jun 06, 2015 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
Craig Werner
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aesthetics, film
Brilliant short book on the aesthetics of the film (mostly non-commercial, largely non-American) of the 50s through 70s that speaks to me most deeply (Godard, Bergman, Antonioni to skim the A list). Bresson isn't quite "New Wave"--he began making his pieces a bit earlier and rather than developing an instantly recognizable "style" (like Godard or Fellini), he developed the approach outlined here that resulted in movies that superficially may seem quite different but bear a deeply personal stamp. ...more
Rida Hariri
Apr 09, 2012 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..
Sep 24, 2007 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.
I'm currently constructing my own vade mecum. This is one of The Books.
May 09, 2012 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
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fransk
en stor 3'er!
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سینما، رادیو، تلوزیون مروّج بی توجهی اند. مردم نگاه میکنند، بی آنکه ببینند و گوش می کنند، بی آنکه بشنوند

آنچه امروز به اسم سینما به خورد تماشاگران حریص آن داده میشود، نوعی عامه گرایی تمام عیار است که چهره ی مبتذل خود را در پس نقاب اصالت پنهان میکند
Jan 31, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
This is a rather odd book. It's a book about film that doesn't talk about any films. I believe only one actor and film is mentioned by name (Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc). What the book consists of are thoughts about filming -- thoughts that are very different from one one usually thinks about as film, which Bresson associates with "the terrible habit of the theatre."

Robert Bresson is a great film director, so consequently his Notes on the Cinematograph is well worth listening to. Un
Nov 15, 2009 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
Alborz Taheri
Mar 28, 2013 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
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not to attempt a review when the reading is enough.
Karim Abdel-Khalek‎
بريسون دائمًا كان يربط الفن بالشعور وليس الفهم، فيقول في كتابه "مذكرات حول السينماتوغراف": "مخيلتك لا تطلب الأحداث، بل العواطف؛ عواطف ما استطعت لها توثيقًا" لذلك نجده يربط دائمًا بين المسرح (الذي يعتمد على المشاعر معظم الوقت) والسينما، بل يرى أن المسرح هو الأب الروحي للسينما. لذلك كان يريد أن يُظهر أبطاله على طبيعتهم، فهو لا ينعتهم ب"ممثلين" بل "موديلات". وفي مقابلة معه يقول: "أتمنى أن تشعر الناس بالفيلم قبل أن تفهمه".

Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
Truly a collection of notes, some expressing fragments of thought, others more complete ideas about the art of film. Through this accumulation of opinions, questions and insights, Bresson reveals his interest in the use of silence and sound, the effects (mainly bad) of the theatric mindset on the cinema, the uses of models (his term) versus actors, and other facets of the art he practiced so notably.
Rob Stammitti
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goofy and overly rigid but nonetheless essential for people like me who spend more time than maybe they should considering the ontology of movies and the various ways the mediums of the 20th century intermingle with and influence each other. Also it's just really breezy--the amount of time between when I started the book and when I "finished" it is substantial in terms of when I literally started and stopped but it only took like three actual sittings to read the whole thing cover to cover...tha ...more
Jun 28, 2012 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
Oct 07, 2007 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
Jul 25, 2011 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
Ian Hamilton
Huge Bresson fan; laud the ethos behind his approach to filmmaking; seen em all; respect the man immensely - I'm going to be the detractor on this one; unfortunately this collection of notes doesn't really do much. Yes, there are some nuggets of greatness buried in here, but the collection is largely repetitive, some of his observations frankly just don't make sense, and yes, I'll say it, it's pretty pretentious. Trudging through this didn't come easy. I really, really, really wanted to glean so ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, owned
This one is destined to be carried with me everywhere, to become a rotten and stained go-to for when I'm stuck, for when I need to be reminded where I started from. Not quite like the Oblique Strategies Deck, but similar in the contemplative and reflective nature for my writing, which I had some inkling was related to my previous career as a photographer. This book helped me see more clearly that bridge.
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
Jeff Jackson
Sep 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: celluloid-dreams
"Don't show all sides of things. A margin of indefiniteness." / "Not artful, but agile." / "No marriage of theatre and cinematography without both being exterminated." / "From beings and things of nature, washed clean of all art and especially the art of drama, you will make art." / etc.
Taha Abed
Aug 21, 2015 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.
sohrab mohajer
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
سلوک یک کارگردان در سینمای عرفانی فرانسه
Tyler Wilcox
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
مزامير القديس بريسون، شفيع السينما.
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seems futile to give a rating to what amounts to a personal diary or manifesto, but this is a work that will likely speak more to someone (such as myself) whose profession is specifically in the film and video production industry rather than most other people. I often found it inspiring and sometimes confounding, not because words were lost in translation from the original French, but simply due to its cursory and almost stream-of-consciousness nature.

A favorite entry: "Images and sounds lik
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bresson does Twitter.

No, that's a bit cruel. In an interesting way, we are confronted with fragments of ideas and thoughts that Bresson has on life and art. I didn't finish the book as fast I thought I would because some of his statements, and the way they are edited together, really did sink. I needed to take a breather, let them gestate in my head before I could move on.

There is a great irony that those storytellers of the 19th and 20th century who understood the importance of standing up to b
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NYRB Classics: Notes on the Cinematograph, by Robert Bresson 5 39 Aug 26, 2016 11:48AM  
vision 8 15 Nov 15, 2013 01:53PM  
سایت فیلمسازی (حل مشکل فیلمسازان 1 4 Nov 24, 2011 01:01PM  
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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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“Cinematography is a writing with images in mouvement and with sounds.” 26 likes
“Bring together things that have not yet been brought together and did not seem predisposed to be so.” 24 likes
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