Saturday, December 08, 2007

They Live by Night

The woods of Arcady are dead.

It's possible, like this,
At last, to sense the simple things:
Slave razoring bark;
Patron hemorrhaging.

— At night's end
We mouth rote words
Beneath the sere leaves;
Wind alone undoes us

Here, in the new hospice of youth.

L'horizon ne nous approche pas
Le soleil ne se diffuse pas
Les rayons sont faibles et longs

Qui vient à la maison des fébriles?
Qui se souvient les trésors des villes?
Je sais de quoi —

Je ne lutte plus
Je ne lutte pas...

They Live by Night by Nicholas Ray, 1948:

Au hasard Balthazar [Aimlessly, Balthazar] by Robert Bresson, 1966:

They Live by Night by Nicholas Ray, 1948:

Au hasard Balthazar [Aimlessly, Balthazar] by Robert Bresson, 1966:



  1. Yes! I always thought Cathy O'Donnell in the Ray film and Anne Wiazemsky in the Bresson shared a special connection, both spiritual and bodily, and even a bit down to their performances and direction. I love that you are able to link them as well in scenes, screen captures.

  2. This is really great. I'd never made the connection but now want to go rewatch them both. I can't recall ever reading Ray or Bresson commenting on the other's work, but surely they must have at some point?

  3. Very early on Truffaut called Ray the most Bressonian of all the Hollywood directors. But I think that idea was then fairly forgotten for 50 years! It's very moving to actually see it!

  4. PS- I think Ray knew just as well as Bresson the cinematographic play of faces; they have a sensitivity to casting based on faces, based on foreseeing those faces being cut together in fragmented shots. The sinews of Arthur Kennedy next to the tiredness of Mitchum, both as played off of Susan Hayward in LUSTY MEN. The group shots in WIND ACROSS THE EVERGLADES. And, of course, the play in THEY LIVE BY NIGHT: Da Silva and Flippen in one grueling catagory, O'Donnell and Granger in another unheard of child-like sublime one.


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