The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 13-19

angels-of-sin

The Angels of Sin (1943)
Directed by Robert Bresson
The Bresson of intricate dollies, expressionistic lighting, and voluble dialogue is not the one we often think of, partially because he only existed for about three films. In his feature debut, the Austere Auteur explores the tribulations of one particularly overzealous young nun—member of a Dominican convent specializing in ex-convicts—with melodramatic vigor, channeled through a serene observance. The nuns are often shot with full-body in frame, irregular for Bresson, but the same transcendent end result reached in his canonical works is arrived at here via a different passageway. Performances are weirdly intense, not quite the stone-faced models of his later films, rather something more surreal and parochial, religious fervor both repressed and externalized into coded interactions that often induce moral self-flagellation. Fluctuating between melodrama and noir—inside the convent and outside—Les Anges du Peche announced Bresson’s deft mastery of genre, as well as a potent sense of the nonpareil cinema that was to come. Eric Barroso (April 13, 9pm at Anthology Film Archives’s “Barthes at the Movies”)

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