Man Escaped, A

Bresson, who spent eighteen months in a Nazi prison himself, made "A Man Escaped" or "The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth" based on André Devigny's story in 1956. Robert Bresson asked Devigny -renamed Fontaine in the film- to assist him during the shooting and included the lines "This is a true story, I tell it exactly as it happened" with his own handwriting into the first frames of the film. Fontaine, a French officer captured by the German Army in occupied France, makes an unsuccessful attempt to escape in the very beginning of the film. As the title indicates, he will succeed - the problem is how he will achieve this. Like most Bresson films "A Man Escaped" is about sacrifice and salvation. Fontaine's drive to stay alive, his hopes, his endless efforts, and his trust in others even when this trust means to put himself in great risk, makes one stronger and more hopeful. The minimal use of dialogues proves the strenght of images, despite the use of Mozart's Kyre in the soundtrack, an exception in Bresson's filmography. As usual, the cast is comprised of non-professionals, German students studying in France played German soldiers. The suspence keeps rising throughout the film, culminating in a thrilling finale. As indicated by the film historian Eric Rhode, Bresson depicts prison life with great detail, then focuses on the preparations of the escape. He masterfully provides the maximum suspence with minimal tools, as indicated by the economy of words throughout the film. On the other hand, using an allusion to the Bible (The wind bloweth where it listeth") he reminds us to what extend the success of the attempt depends on chance. Based on the quotation, he interprets the escape as an allegory of resolution and fortune. He intends to remind the spectator of the mystery of human existence. As it is, chance can be perceived anywhere, anytime. But paradoxically, when it is perceived, it can be taken to be the proof of destiny or supernatural forces. Let us conclude by

Robert Bresson

Robert Bresson

Leonce Henri Burel

Raymond Lamy


Charles Le Clainche
Francois Leterrier
Jacques Ertaud
Maurice Beerblock
Roger Treherne
Roland Monod

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Best Director Cannes; Best Film French Syndicate of Cinema Critics

8th Festival on Wheels