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Film / Diary of a Country Priest

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"All is grace."

Diary of a Country Priest is a 1951 French film by Robert Bresson. The film is the story of a young, ill priest who is assigned to the village of Ambricourt, where he is unable to fit in with the locals.


  • The Alcoholic: The Priest isn't this, but rumors spread that he is due to the fact that his stomach can't handle anything besides bread dipped in wine.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Priest dies, but he does so with his faith in God renewed.
  • Children Are Cruel: The children of Ambricourt take a great deal of joy in tormenting the Priest. Special mention goes to Chantal.
  • Crapsack World: Ambricourt comes across as this. The Priest seems to be the only good person there.
    "The locals here are quite mean-spirited."
  • Driven to Suicide: Dr. Delbende, who treats the Priest for his stomach complaint and is practically the only person in town to be nice to him, despairs at how his practice has gone downhill thanks to younger doctors spreading nasty rumors about him. Soon after, he kills himself.
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  • Foreshadowing: Multiple references throughout the film that the only food the Priest can keep down is bread soaked in red wine to make it soft, plus the fact that he generally looks sort of unwell. He's eventually revealed to have stomach cancer.
  • From Bad to Worse: The Priest's health troubles are eventually revealed to be caused by stomach cancer, which ends up killing him.
  • God Is Evil: Interestingly averted, despite all of the misery he experiences, the Priest says, "God is not a torturer." It's also Martin Scorsese's favorite line from the film.
  • Nice Guy: The Priest is kind to the villagers, even when they are cruel to him.
  • No Name Given: The Priest is never named.
  • The Plot Reaper: The Countess dies of a heart attack within hours of her soul-wrenching talk with the Priest, which allows her evil daughter Chantal to spread untrue rumors of the conversation and smear the Priest's reputation in the village.
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  • Redemption Equals Death: A long, highly emotional talk with the Priest leads the Countess to cast the locket with her son's picture into the fire. She vows to end her eternal mourning, accept God, and engage with the world again. That very night she dies of a heart attack.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Due to his illness, the Priest is only able to consume bread dipped in wine.
  • Signature Style: Notable as the film where Bresson first developed his. Although he had previously made two features and a short, they all used professional actors. By contrast, the only character played by a professional actor in Diary Of a Country Priest is the Countess. It's also the film where Bresson started paying great attention to the sound design and started using narration.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: The Priest, a simple man wholly devoted to God, humiliated and rejected by a village full of cynical, selfish townsfolk.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: The Priest is this, the film is essentially about whether or not he can hold onto his idealistic beliefs despite all the misery he goes through.