Diary of a Country Priest ★★

For a good 40 minutes, this is as tediously uncinematic as Truffaut’s literary adaptations, with a voiceover just reading out bits of the book over maddeningly brief scenes. If that’s due to a lack of faith in Bresson’s leading actor, you can understand why.

After that, it gets a little better – there are a handful of powerful moments and intriguing ideas, among them the germs of Taxi Driver and Fleabag Season 2 – but I still found it frequently dull and surprisingly difficult to follow.

This was early in the director’s career, and his inimitable minimalist style found more coherent, engaging expression in truly great films like A Man Escaped and Mouchette.

I like the idea of this one, and it feels kind of haunting in retrospect, but actually watching it isn’t a satisfying experience. It’s alternatively too vague and too literal. Call me Johnny McMainstream, but my cinematic clergy of choice remain Leon Morin, prêtre and Becket.