Man-woman relationships -- France -- Drama, Suicide -- Psychological aspects -- Drama, Youth -- France -- Drama, Youth -- France -- Moral conditions -- Drama

The Devil, Probably

(Le diable probablement)


Antoine Monnier, Tina Irissari, Henri de Maublanc, Laetitia Carcano,

Also screens in In Focus: Robert Bresson

This has been called Bresson’s most cynical film. It certainly offers his most fashionably cynical protagonist, Charles, a young Parisian whose suicidal despair is vaguely linked to, but not entirely explained by, all the ecological, political, and social disasters of the modern world circa 1977. This character makes an interestingly unsympathetic addition to Bresson’s gallery of self-sacrifices—his behavior toward his multiple lovers is far from saintly, and his aristocratic beauty can’t mitigate an infuriating, passive arrogance. But Charles’s life, which ends in the middle of an unexpressed thought (less sublime than he’d expected), takes on in retrospect the odd, compromised dignity of a thwarted spiritual search. It’s entirely possible to picture an alternate ending in which this dissatisfied youth becomes a Jesuit. The chic psychiatrist who tries to “cure” Charles’s indifference asks, “When it’s over, do you see yourself as a martyr?” The reply: “Only an amateur.”

Juliet Clark
  • Robert Bresson
  • Pasqualino De Santis
  • French
  • English subtitles
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • 93 mins
  • The Film Desk
  • Olive Films

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Le Diable probablement (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, 1999

The poetry of precision: the films of Robert Bresson (program note), Cinematheque Ontario/a division of Toronto International Film Festival Group, James Quandt, 1998

Robert Bresson (press kit), Pacific Film Archive, 1998

The devil probably (distributor materials), New Yorker Films, 1995

The Devil, probably (distributor materials), New Yorker Films, 1995

The cure (review), Village Voice, J. Hoberman, 1994

The Devil probably (review), Boston Phoenix, Henry Sheehan, 1986

The Devil probably (program note), Mill Valley Film Festival, David Thomson, 1983

Le Diable probablement (program note), Los Angeles International Film Exposition, Eric Sherman, 1978

Robert Bresson: Le Diable probablement (article), Lumière du cinéma, Lucien Dahan, 1977

Displaying 10 of 35 publicly available documents.

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