—01. François Leterrier as Lieutenant Fontaine.
Robert Bresson is an unequivocal master of the art form. He is probably more admired and influential than he gets credit for, but those in the know definitely consider him in the same league as greats such as Kubrick, Kurosawa and Fellini. While those directors don’t hold back on style, Bresson favours a spare, more simplistic approach. The French filmmaker prefers themes on the human condition to speak for themselves, rather than grandiose set pieces and florid, impressionistic camerawork. A Man Escaped (1956) juxtaposes a methodical plan for a Nazi prison break with ruminations on incarceration and man's desire for freedom. The outcome is a tense, well-paced affair with the stakes rising as mounting death sentences are carried out around our protagonist, Lieutenant Fontaine, and doubt is ultimately cast on which inmates he can trust. If you have never seen a Bresson film and are looking for a jumping off point, this is a great place to start and it will surely leave you wanting to see the rest of his filmography.