Feb 9, 2020

Diary of a Country Priest

I honestly do not know much about the Catholic Church aside from the fact that it is now seems to be controlled by evil antichrist types that seem more interested in phantoms like climate change and the shoah and protecting serial child rapists and other castration-worthy perverts than the teachings of J.C., but I also have to assume that most modern priests are closet homosexuals, pedos, autistic, and/or sociopaths as I cannot imagine any even remotely normal man taking the cloth in our spiritually retarded age. Indeed, I might think Otto Preminger was a culture-distorting piece of shit that was largely dedicated to dismantling traditional white Christian values with his innately subversive films, but I cannot help but feel that his failed epic The Cardinal (1963)—a film inspired by the dubious life of hardcore closet-queen and Baby Doll-hater Cardinal Francis Spellman—exposed some hard truths about the lack of masculine fortitude and hypocrisy associated with the clearly spiritually and morally declining priesthood. Needless to say, I was not prepared to see a film where I came to believe a young wine-addled priest of the socially retarded sort achieves sainthood as is depicted in Diary of a Country Priest (1951) aka Journal d'un curé de champagne—a film based on the 1936 Georges Bernanos novel of the same name—but this cinematic masterpiece was directed by French master auteur Robert Bresson who is one of the few filmmakers that achieved a true sense of the spiritual in cinema, as opposed to simply depicting contrived (yet oftentimes curiously homoerotic) biblical bullshit à la half-chosenite Cecil B. DeMille, and I say that as a largely apathetic agnostic that could not be a believer if I wanted to. While oftentimes associated with the heretically Catholic moral rigor and asceticism of Jansenism, this did not exactly inform the filmmaker's singular aesthetic, or as Paul Schrader—a lapsed Dutch-American Calvinist that has modeled much of his films after Bresson's, especially Pickpocket (1959)—wrote in his groundbreaking text Transcendental Style in Film (1972), “Bresson, the artist, received no aid or comfort from Jansenism; he had to look elsewhere for his aesthetics.”  Luckily, Bresson, quite unlike far too many modern filmmakers—both good and bad—looked far beyond the cinematic realm for aesthetic influences.

 An anti-modernist that, on an inspirational level, did not give a shit about modern trends—whether they be spiritual, cinematic, or political—Bresson might seem like a right-wing anarchist of sorts to some people (myself included) and his aesthetic interests were neither vogue nor wholly traditionalism, but that is largely why he was such a pleasantly preternatural filmmaker, or as Schrader also wrote, “Bresson cannot be tied down to any one heresy; he is a heretic all his own. His techniques of portraiture come from Byzantium; his theology of predestination, free will, and grace from Jansenism; his aesthetics from Scholasticism. To each tradition he brings the virtues of the other, and to cinema he brings the virtues of all three. Perhaps this is why no religious denomination has ever embraced Bresson’s seemingly religious films; they haven’t figured out what sort of heretic he is yet.” Indeed, religion or not, Diary of a Country Priest is as heretical as films come as a flick that even makes Pasolini’s biblical flicks and sardonic (anti)Catholic satires of Luis Buñuel seem like immaturely and inelegantly rebellious pussy posturing by comparison due to Bresson’s singular devotion to the strikingly transcendent in a world plagued with the positively putrid and material. As someone that lost ‘faith’ (or whatever) as a young kid, Diary of a Country Priest at least made me feel like a believer during its 115-minute running-time and even caused me to momentarily consider that there is much more than life and the shitty people in it.  One could even say that, not unlike many of Bresson’s other films, it is a merrily morbid cinematic work that celebrates death to the point where Christianity—or at least the auteur’s splendidly curious version of it—is centered around the worship of death, which is beautifully underscored by the priest protagonist’s final dying words after asking for absolution: “What does it matter? All is grace.”  Indeed, Bresson wants the viewer to know that the body is a temporal prison and thus one should never fear death as life is the real hell.  In fact, as Bresson's pitch black yet singularly subtle understated humor reveals, life is largely a sick joke at the expense of the good and sensitive like the eponymous protagonist of the film.

Although Bresson’s previous and second feature Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) is a highly worthwhile dark gothic (anti)romance where a scorned bourgeois bitch played by Spanish beauty María Casares dedicates her life to getting a disturbingly intricate revenge against her ex-lover simply because he falls in love with another woman from a less prestigious class, it was not until his third film Diary of a Country Priest—a cinematic work so precisely and immaculately constructed that it makes most films seem like they are layered with lard—that he created the template for the singular ‘transcendental style’ that he is best known for. Indeed, one could argue that the film created a complete paradigm shift in the art of filmmaking as it was surely an imperative influence on the filmmakers and intellectuals associated with the La Nouvelle Vague and later American New Wave masterpieces like Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976) and Schrader's Hardcore (1979), yet no filmmaker—be it Michael Haneke, Carlos Reygadas, Bruno Dumont, Dietrich Brüggemann or countless other examples—has come close to capturing Bresson’s style or aesthetic rigor. In short, Bresson lives in a world of his own, which is fitting for a man that once wrote in regard to his cinematic philosophy, “The CINEMA did not start from zero. Everything to be called into question.” Undoubtedly, Diary of a Country Priest offers the first serious glimpse of the singular Bressonian cinematic world where typical movie ingredients like entertainment, star power, psychological motivation, and sexual magnetism, among other things, are scant, if not totally nonexistent, and a rare spiritual experience in celluloid form is offered to those viewers bold enough to embrace it. Undoubtedly, the film is the first good example of why Schrader was right when he wrote, “Bresson’s characters, his movies, and Bresson himself all become icons. . . . Bresson has transcended himself: he is blazed in mosaics in some moss-grown temple.” Indeed, like most of his cinematic works, it is somewhat hard to believe that a single man conceived of such a film, but of course Bresson was not your typical man or filmmaker as one of the greats in the top tier class of cinematograph masters that includes F.W. Murnau and Carl Theodor Dreyer, among few others.

While only a highly intelligent artistic genius could dream up a film like Bresson’s, it is hardly an intellectual exercise, or as the great frog critic André Bazin once wrote, “If THE DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST impresses us as a masterpiece, and this with an almost physical impact, if it moves the critic and the uncritical alike, it is primarily because of its power to stir the emotions, rather than the intelligence, at their highest level of sensitivity.” Indeed, one would do best to embrace the film like one should embrace death without fear or hesitation as it is a film that bleeds into the soul as it progresses to the point where it feels completely right and hardly dejecting when the young priest—a man that has sacrificed his mind and body for his faith—dies in the end. While the priest technically dies of stomach cancer, which is fitting since he cannot stomach life (not to mention food), one gets the sense that the true source of his death is a spiritual malady and that he is no longer fit for the ‘prison’ of his body. Indeed, there is no doubt from the very first shot of the character that the young ‘Priest of Ambricourt’ (Belgian-born Swiss actor Claude Laydu in his first and most well-known acting role)—a forlorn figure that, not coincidentally, appears framed behind a fence at the beginning of the film in a manner that underscores his status as a virtual inmate in an ‘earthly prison’—suffers greatly with mere existence and is pretty much socially retarded (read: proto-autistic), but he is also a ‘true believer’ and not in the negative pathological sense as he is willing to sacrifice what little health he has to help a small village with an oppressive atmosphere as inhabited by mostly coldhearted and petty people that immediately despise him just due to his mere presence as a character of a sort of simple untainted Dostoevskian good. In fact, even the eponymous donkey of Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) seems to be treated better than the priest as at least the animal is beloved by the kind and innocent but, quite unlike the ass of Bresson's later film, the young Catholic brother makes it quite clear to the viewer how he feels, though his internal pain always feels like a total necessary part of his journey. In fact, one could say that the young Priest’s faith is ostensibly morbidly masochistic as an anxiety-ridden prole that is incapable of praying who attempts to spiritually counsel people that would rather spit on him and write him threatening anonymous letters demanding that he leave the village (which actually happens), yet there is a certain undeniable nobility and purity in his ‘passion,’ even if it arguably contributes to his seemingly unavoidable premature demise.

While it would not be sensible to describe Diary of a Country Priest as a ‘realist’ film, there is certainly an inordinate realism of spirit and essence, as if Bresson personally examined the soul of each ‘actor’ (or ‘model’ as Bresson would say) to see if they were right for the role. For example, Nicole Ladmiral, who plays a troubled young aristocratic girl that threatens suicide, committed suicide in real-life at the age of 28 by throwing herself under a subway train some years after the film was released (to make matters more morbid, Ladmiral previously provided narration for Georges Franju’s abattoir documentary Blood of the Beasts (1949) aka Le sang des bêtes). As for lead actor Claude Laydu, he was borderline brainwashed by Bresson for a year in preparation for the role and he would ultimately take an extreme method acting approach to his ‘performance’ by living with a group of young priests for many weeks, intentionally starving himself to make himself look ill, and sporting an authentic priest cassock and matching boots. As for the priest protagonist’s mentor ‘Priest of Torcy,’ he was actually portrayed by Bresson’s own doctor Adrien Borel who only agreed to do the role so long as he could use a pseudonym (he is credited as ‘Andre Guibert’ in the film). While the acting might be a tad bit more ‘melodramatic’ than Bresson’s later films where the models just act like virtual somnambulists, Laydu’s performance is arguably the most memorable of the auteur’s films aside from possibly Nadine Nortier in his subsequent Georges Bernanos adaptation Mouchette (1967) where a poor young girl chooses death over life before she even reaches full womanhood. Indeed, Laydu plays a pathetic priest but you cannot help but respect the passion behind his, well, passion.  Another ‘realist’ aspect of the film is Bresson's utilization of oftentimes grating off-screen noises (e.g. squeaking of a wagon wheel), which helps to subtly intensify the contrast between the everyday and spiritual.  Indeed, while Bresson makes great use of chiaroscuro as seemingly influenced by the paintings of Dutch Golden Age painters like Johannes Vermeer and Godfried Schalcken, the film does not utilize special effects or garish pageantry to express the spiritual like so many idiotic Hollywood films.  After all, as Bresson once wrote, “It is in its pure form that an art hits hard.”

Beginning with a shot of a sign of Ambricourt—a real-life commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in northern France—the viewer arrives just as the new ‘Priest of Ambricourt’ (Claude Laydu) arrives to the area for his new parish where he soon catches the local rich Count (Jean Riveyre) being a little too intimate with his dejected daughter Chantal’s (Nicole Ladmiral) rather beauteous governess. As the rather literal title of the film indicates, the Priest oftentimes writes in his diary and as his first entry reads, “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong in writing down daily, with absolute frankness, the simplest and most insignificant secrets of a life actually lacking any trace of mystery.”  Undoubtedly, the diary is one of the priest's few sources of solace, as if he needs it to remind himself of his very existence lest him succumb to a sort of self-dissolution.  As demonstrated by the fact that the action and drama of the film is oftentimes echoed by his words in what is ultimately a cinematically ingenious use of pleonasms, the protagonist is an honest priest—even maybe too painfully and autistically so to the point where the viewer is forced to suffer silently with him as he routinely puts himself in the most miserable of situations. When a grumpy old fart named ‘Fabregars’ (Léon Arvel) bitches about having to pay for aspects of his wife’s funeral, the Priest is left completely “distraught,” as if it is the end of the world or something, thereupon underscoring the protagonist's complete and utter incapacity to deal with everyday assholes. Aside from adults not respecting him, the Priest is also mocked by the children he teaches. For example, a young girl named Séraphita Dumonte (Martine Lemaire) pretends to be keen on the Scriptural basis of the Eucharist to get his attention, but then embarrasses him for the enjoyment of her classmates by mock-flirtatiously stating in regard to the root of her ostensible biblical prowess, “It’s because you have such beautiful eyes.” When the Priest meets his new mentor, the Priest of Torcy (Adrien Borel), the older and wiser brother instantly berates him for being a sensitive pussy by stating, “You young priests! What have you young men got in your veins these days? In my time they made men of the church, leaders of parishes, real masters!” While the Priest of Torcy is certainly somewhat of a resentful old prick, his heart is in the right place and does provide the young priest with helpful dictums like, “Keep order all day long” and “A true priest is never loved.”  In the end, the young priest proves to live and eventually die by these words as he is never loved and rarely even liked, but he does earn the respect of some of his most aggressive and cynical detractors.

Although everyone hates the priest, including little kids, that does not stop him from idealistically attempting to inspires his seemingly impenetrable haters with his own special idealistic Catholic philosophy. To the young Priest's credit, his idealism is pure and his desire to ‘save’ is as equally pure, hence his handful of notable successes. Indeed, the young Priest manages to convince the local Countess (Rachel Bérendt) to get over her deep-seated hatred of god as a result of the premature death of her young son who she practically worships (for example, instead of a rosary and religious paintings, the Countess sports a locket necklace featuring a pic of her dead son and has decorated her room with pics of said dead son). In fact, the Countess is so inspired to let go of her hatred and resume her communion with god after an intense spiritual argument with the young priest, who she initially does not take seriously, that she actually destroys her beloved locket necklace her dead son. In fact, the Countess even writes a heartfelt thank-you letter that concludes with, “I hope I don’t hurt your pride by calling you a child. You are one, and may God keep you so always,” but she soon dies as if her hatred was the only thing keeping her alive. Despite being a sickly wimp, the viewer never doubts the intense sincerity of his words when he sternly warns the countess, “God will break you,” so there is a certain heartwarming irony in her unexpected death, which naturally disturbs her dysfunctional aristocratic family, as if her bodily demise was god's greatest gift. To make matters worse, the Countess’ daughter Chantal (Nicole Ladmiral), who hates her mother for being a pathetic cuckquean, hatefully attempts to blame the priest for her death, thereupon further tainting the protagonist’s local reputation.

While the priest fails in his attempt to get Chantal to give confession, he does somehow magically suspect a suicide letter in her pocket, which he forces her to give it to him and then subsequently burns it without even reading it. Although seemingly half-autistic, the priest was able to read terrible thoughts of suicide in the troubled teenage girl’s unsettlingly penetrating eyes and thus acted accordingly without even the slightest hesitation. In what is probably the most humorous moment of the entire film, Chantal tells the Priest, “You must be the devil” after asking for said letter as if she, as the unloved sole surviving child of bitter old blueblood, is shocked that someone could actually feel her great internal pain for the first time in her entire life. In the end, Chantal seems to believe in the Priest's power and when she asks how he was able to do the seemingly impossible by calming her hateful mother, he replies, “A lost secret. You too will find it and lose it in turn, and others will pass it on after you.” In the end, the Priest dies but his crucial influence on seemingly hopeless people like Chantal lives on.

Aside from learning from the misery of everyday life, the priest also learns a thing or two from the Priest of Torcy, but even he cannot provide the protagonist with any sort of solace when a certain Dr. Delbende (Antoine Balpêtré) assumedly commits suicide because he “lost his faith” as a result of losing patients due to dubious local rumors.  Indeed, as the priest complains in regard to the suicide, “I was in no condition to listen to his confidences just then. They were like molten lead poured on an open wound. I have never suffered so much and likely never will again, even when I die.” In fact, the suicide seems to perturb the priest more than when he finally learns that he is dying of stomach cancer, but of course Dr. Delbende committed a mortal sin which is one of the worst things a Catholic can do.  Naturally, as the victim of local rumors himself, the young priest certainly sees a kindred spirit Dr. Delbende who even expresses a sort of spiritual kinship to the protagonist before he commits self-slaughter.  In fact, the Priest even takes no offense when Dr. Delbende informs him during a medical examination that his poor health is the degenerate genetic consequence of generations of impoverished alcoholics in his family.  In that sense, it seems Dr. Delbende is a fan of the writings of Cesare Lombroso and Émile Zola.

Notably, the Priest’s only moment of reprieve is when he receives a ride on the back of motorcycle as underscored by the words in his diary, “By some premonition I can’t explain, I understood that God didn’t want me to die without knowing something of this risk. Just enough for my sacrifice to be complete when it’s time came.”  While a simple motorcycle ride where nothing particularly interesting happens, it is obviously a moment of complete bliss for the protagonist as demonstrated by the shockingly large ecstatic smile on his face.  Luckily, before he dies, the priest is able to convince an old friend, Priest Dufrety (Bernard Hubrenne), who has lost the faith and is living in sin with a woman, to hook up with the Priest of Torcy so that he can get back on track with God and the Church. In the end, Priest Dufrety sends the Priest of Torcy a brief letter revealing that the young priest was vomiting up blood before he died and then asked for absolution, but then stated with his last dying words, “What does it matter? All is grace.”

Simply put, I don’t give a fuck about Catholic fathers or the Catholic Church, but Diary of a Country Priest made me feel like a believer, especially in regard to the titular protagonist becoming a saint, at least in the spiritual sense. While later filmmakers like Carlos Reygadas and Dietrich Brüggemann have attempted similar things in regard to transcendental, their cinematic works are, at best, mostly deluded expressions of epigonism, especially when contrasted with Bresson's films. Undoubtedly, the same can be said of Paul Schrader’s most recent film First Reformed (2017), which is like a more subversive and less spiritually sound Americanized reworking of Diary of a Country Priest where the American auteur reveals more about his own spiritual sickness than any sort of innate understanding of the somewhat mysterious forces that compelled the no less mysterious French master auteur (who, despite revealing his cinematic philosophy in his classic text Notes on the Cinematograph (1975), still remains a largely enigmatic figure). Still, Schrader’s film is a worthy watch and one of the best films of 2017, yet it also demonstrates the aesthetical and metaphysical degeneration of cinema since the release of Bresson’s masterpiece, as it is clearly the expression of a spiritually lost and emasculated leftist type who no longer believes in himself, let alone the faith of his forefathers.

 Speaking of Schrader, he provided an important insight into Bresson’s true power as a filmmaker in Transcendental Style in Film by contrasting him with Carl Th. Dreyer—one of the few filmmakers on the same level as the French master auteur—and ultimately argues in a manner that makes sense of the titular priest’s death in Diary of a Country Priest that, “Bresson, on the other hand, is the artist of the resurrection, the artist of stasis. The cross for Bresson is a means to a resurrected end, and he is careful not to confuse the cross and the resurrection. Like Dreyer, Bresson uses suffering through the prison metaphor (the ‘symbol of the Cross’), but unlike Dreyer, Bresson transforms the prison into a symbol of resurrection. In this manner Bresson is like the Byzantine Christian who, as theologian Henri Daniel-Rops writes, ‘preferred the theology of Glory to the theology of the Cross.’ Suffering for Bresson is never more than a stepping-stone to stasis.” Indeed, the young priest might be barfing up blood in the end, but his premature death, which is not even actually depicted in the film, is among the most joyous, if not the most joyous, in cinema history. Additionally, only in underrated French auteur Maurice Pialat’s sort of neo-Bressonian masterpiece Under the Sun of Satan (1987) aka Sous le soleil de Satan—the third and final of three masterpiece films based on a novel by Georges Bernanos (of course, Bresson directed the other two)—comes as close to Bresson’s film in terms of successfully depicting a particularly perturbed priest’s passion towards sainthood, albeit in a somewhat more fucked fashion.

Notably, in a top ten list of his favorite films, Russian master auteur Andrei Tarkovsky (Andrei Rublev, Solaris) actually ranked Diary of a Country Priest as his #1 favorite film of all-time. While I personally rank Tarkovsky as one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time, I would be lying if I did not admit that I consider Bresson to be the superior auteur and Diary of a Country Priest to be superior to anything that the Russian director ever directed, even if it does not quite compete with the atmospheric aesthetic allure of films like Stalker (1979) and The Mirror (1975). After all, whereas Tarkvosky brings us religious imagery and great pangs of spiritual doubt, Bresson even provides cynical agnostics like myself a sort of cinematic spiritual experience that feels both timeless and perennial as a film that, somewhat inexplicably, feels like it could have been created before the birth of film. As to what separates Tarkvosky from Bresson and other master practitioners of transcendental style like Ozu and Dreyer, Schrader provided a worthy answer when he argued, “To my mind, Andrei Tarkovsky was not interested in the transcendental style per se. He had religious themes, obsessions, and characters. He was austere. He employed distancing devices. But his intent was different. A transcendental guide or guru or film director self-effacingly seeks to escort the respondent to another level of consciousness, a Wholly Other World. The transcendental film director is a ‘spirit guide.’ Tarkovsky was more interested in passing through the portal himself than he was in escorting his viewer.”

Indeed, Tarkovsky's The Mirror is one of my favorite films of all-time, but it seems like an experimental exercise in masturbatory nostalgia when compared to Bresson’s great ‘(anti)coming-of-age’ flicks like Au hasard Balthazar (1966) and Mouchette (1967). Arguably more importantly, at least to me, Bresson is one of the few filmmakers that, despite the oftentimes deathly dark subject matter of his films, gives me hope as he proved that great timeless and spiritual art could still be produced in the post-Spenglerian age. Indeed, as Richard Roud argued in his excellent text Cinema: A Critical Dictionary (1980) in regard to Bresson’s penultimate masterpiece The Devil Probably, “Even though Bresson has painted a dark picture of wasted youth and beauty (Truffaut called it Bresson’s most ‘voluptuous film’), one came out of the film with a sense of exaltation. When a civilization can produce a work of art as perfectly achieved as this, it is hard to believe that there is not hope for it.” Indeed, take that Spengler.

One of the reasons I found Christianity to be so revoltingly impotent as a child is due to the obsession with prayer and the sort of mindless docility and acceptance of misery it inspires, so I could not help but feel quite strongly when the young priest declares, “Never had I felt so violently the revolt of the body against prayer.” Instead of praying like a pussy, the priest takes action in, somewhat ironically, an arguably Nietzschean sense and puts both his body and mind on the line while just getting by on cheap wine and stale bread to the point where it results in self-obliteration and he finally escapes from the prison of his body. Indeed, even after getting his terminal cancer diagnosis, the priest does not stop in his seemingly completely genuine acts of Catholic idealism to the point where he gets another priest, who has sinned with a woman and now styles himself as an enterprising intellectual, to replace him in the end. In that sense, the priest is a highly inspirational character like a fanatical artist not unlike Bresson himself. In fact, I could not help but think of Rainer Werner Fassbinder of all people and how the singular workaholic auteur was even working on a Rosa Luxemburg biopic script entitled Rosa L when he overdosed on cocaine and barbiturates. Diary of a Country Priest is not just the passion of a young priest, but also the passion of Bresson who revolutionized cinema in a way that the likes of contemporary pseudo-Bressonian art fags like Bruno Dumont and Gus Van Sant can only dream of.

Undoubtedly, film critic André Bazin probably paid the greatest tribute to the film when he argued at the end of his Cahiers du Cinéma essay on it, “It is hardly enough to say of this work, once removed, that it is in essence faithful to the original because, to being with, it is the novel. But most of all the resulting work is not, certainly, better (that kind of judgment is meaningless . . .) but ‘more’ than the book. The aesthetic pleasure we derive from Bresson’s film, while the acknowledgement for it goes, essentially, to the genius of Bernanos, includes all that novel has to offer plus, in addition, its refraction in the cinema.”  In short, Bresson accomplished what very few filmmakers do by totally transcending his source material and ultimately demonstrating the true potential of cinema as an artistic medium.  In fact, Bresson proved with his rather idiosyncratic Jansenist Weltanschauung and assumed Byzantium and Gothic influences in his adaptation of a ‘modern’ novel that, despite most movies being mindless trash that is meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator, cinema is the fullest and most advanced art form with the most potential for both aesthetic and thematic evolution.  Indeed, while Schrader made a great point when he argued, “Motion pictures were not born in religious practice, but instead are the totally profane offspring of capitalism and technology.  If a religious artist in cinema attempts to go back to his origins, he will find only entrepreneurs and technocrats.  When the Holy tries to enter into the cinema, the intrinsically profane art, there are bound to be some unusual consequences,” he was ultimately underscoring Bresson's singular genius as an artist that brought transcendence to a commercial medium and with Diary of a Country Priest, which somewhat ironically was a commercial success, he created one of the greatest pieces of art of the twentieth-century and one of the rare films that deserves to be revered to the same degree as great Gothic architecture, Byzantine icons, and other great artistic pieces associated with the Occident.

While Nietzsche was probably mostly right when he wrote, “The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad, has made the world ugly and bad,” Bresson's films would have probably at least make him reconsider.  After all, as Roud soundly recognized, “By the end of the film, even the non-believer is forced to acknowledge that the little country priest is a saint—whatever that word may mean.  His final liberation comes not only from his acceptance of his approaching and painful death, but from the knowledge that his conflicts have not really been with the Countess, or Chantal, or Seraphita, but with himself.  And these conflicts are resolved: tout est grâce.”  Of course, Nietzsche also might a good point when he argued, “What do savage tribes at present accept first of all from Europeans?  Brandy and Christianity, the European narcotics.—And by what means are they fastest ruined?—By the European narcotics,” but somehow I doubt these savages could embrace the truly Christian Diary of a Country Priest even if they wanted to.  After all, the film is the opposite of a narcotic and Europeans, not unlike Bresson, do Christianity best when coming from an ascetic angle as opposed to a pussy proto-humanist prayer version.

-Ty E

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