Keith Reader
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Journal d’un curé de campagne
in Robert Bresson
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In 1947, Robert Bresson went to Rome to work on a screenplay of the life of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, which was never to be filmed. This renewal of his interest in the religious life bore fruit in Journal d'un curé de campagne of 1951, adapted from the celebrated novel by Georges Bernanos. The film was shot and edited on location in the northern French village of Équirre (near Bernanos's birthplace). For the part of the priest, Bresson eliminated all non-believers before selecting Claude Laydu, who spent time meditating in Normandy before filming, wore a real priest's cassock during shooting and underate to achieve a suitably pinched mien. None of the modèles, as it now seems appropriate to call them, of Journal was to go on to a major cinematic career.

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