In Focus: A Man Escaped

(Un condamné à mort s’est échappé)

Lecture & Screening

  • Lecture

    David Thomson is a noted film critic and historian who has authored more than twenty books, including The Fatal Alliance: A Century of War on Film.


François Leterrier, Charles Le Clainche, Maurice Beerblock,

A Man Escaped is pure film existentialism. From a newspaper account by a Resistance leader who escaped from a Nazi prison in Lyon just hours before he was to be executed, Robert Bresson created a film in which the drama is all internal. Minimizing the drama of prison life, paradoxically he maximizes its intensity, concentrating on his character Fontaine’s solitude and on prison relationships in which a tap on the wall, a whisper in the washroom are bridges to another’s soul. For the rest, he emphasizes the material preparation for escape—the spoon Fontaine must steal then shape into a cutting tool, the labor involved in taking apart his door. Set to Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, this is a genuinely moving encounter with limits and the need to transcend them. It is a true action film. 

Judy Bloch
  • Robert Bresson
Based On
  • the account of André Devigny

  • Léonce-Henri Burel
  • French
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 35mm
  • 97 mins
  • Janus Films

Event Accessibility

If you have any questions about accessibility or require accommodations to participate in this event, please contact us at or call us at (510) 642-1412 (during open hours) with as much advance notice as possible. More information on accessibility services.