Diary of a country priest is a 1951 French movie with its origin its original title ‘Journal d’un cure de campagne’, directed by Benson Bresson, based on the novel of Georges Bernos. This film is of a man in the path of his compliance to God. He practically lives on nothing a little potato soup wine and bread are his only sustainers. The priest is depicted to growing thing and ill, and he is coughing blood. Whether it is the diet or his stomach cannot hold the food, is not clear until later. The priest has journal he which he recounts his suffering. Despite the fact that the priest has sacrificed his life by neglecting his health to serve God and the parish, he faces unfair treatment and lives in a world of cruelty a petty ignorance. People have time and again offered their time and life to serve the people but end up dying as martyrs, this film depict how a person can suffer under the society injustice.
Theme of Diary of a country priest
All through the film, there is a struggle for integrity and order is seen throughout the film. When the count’s daughter come to him with the accounts of her father’s affair with her governess, she tells the priest all she wants his justice. The first duty of the priest on arriving at the parish is to conduct the committal of a woman in the town. The woman’s husband says it is just for him to be allowed to bury his wife a fee, although everyone is required to pay the same payment. Before the doctor commits suicide, he says, he is not the type to talk about justice. He goes on to say, he does not expect any for himself for he does not know where to seek it since he does not believe in God (Cunneen 44). On his death, the priest contemplates on the doctor’s soul, but, Torcy defends the doctor by saying God is the only judge, and He will judge the doctor in a just way. The countess, whose son died a while ago, is still in mourning, and she says it was unjust for God to let her son die.
On arriving in his new parish at Ambricourt, the priest is not welcome; his colleagues are all up in his business. They criticize his poor diet as well as his saintly life style. The girls in the catechism class play pranks in his class and laugh at their own private conversation. When the priest is aware of the count’s daughter governess and the count, he tries to counsel the governess, but the count insults him. The countess is aware of the affair and does not care since she is still mourning for her son who passed away young. The count’s daughter is angry with her father and everyone. The conversation of the countess and is lied about and held against him. This conversation forms the centre of the film where the priest talks the countess into having faith and accepting Christ.
The films also spotlights faith. As the film ends, the priest diet is seen not to be an act of faith, his stomach problems develops into a terminal cancer. The illness leaves him weak and unable to eat and the people assume he is drunk. The stomach illness is represented as a metaphor of an original sin where sin has been passed down from parent to child (Quandt 90). This metaphor is suggested by the doctor who tells the priest that his stomach illness is because of his mother, whom drunk, despite the fact that she was expectant. The priest decides that the only solution for dissolving the sin is by wine and bread of sacrament. This is what the society does not understand; they see the church as phonies, rather than sin-sick pilgrims in seeking out the only remedy that can help them (Quandt 150).
The film is of a serious nature about the indifference in the world and human nature. This film is not set in any way to entertain its audience; the story unfolds slowly showing different aspect brutalism and arrogance nature of people in the society. The strategy used in this film is not that of easy storytelling, but the scenes are broken down as facts (Cunneen 100). The director opens many passages throughout the film but ultimately closes them. This depicts the acts of opening eyes to the world, seeing the gray in it and immediately the passage is closed. This film is not directed to the catholic faith; the director himself is an atheist who has value for how his characters find solace in faith or out of it.