ALTHOUGH there is no more news to date about Count de la Grandiere's film of the Passion, The Divine Tragedy, I am able to tell you something about Ave Maria, the film he has been Making on the life of Our Lady.
Much of the material he has used has been taken from one of France's greatest treasures in the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Books of the Hours which the monks of the Middle Ages copied and illuminated for the seigneurs of France.
Infinite care had to be exercised in the photographing of these ancient parchments, so fragile that the light, the outside air and even the breath of visitors
might in a short time reduce to powder.
The very names of the books stir the imagination — Charles le Chauve's ' Bible "; the "Psautier " of Queen Blanche; the "Grandes Heures" of the Duc de Berry; " Les Heures." d'Anne de Bretagne.
The tiny miniatures and medallions that decorate the pages— some no bigger than a playing card or a postage stamp—have been enlarged thousands of times to fill the screen and their exquisite detail will thus be brought within reach of millions of people all over the world who could never hope to see the originals.
The perfection of these miniatures and illuminations have confounded the connoisseur down the ages. Little is known of the methods the monks used to achieve the almost mathematical precision of the designs.
A great honour has been paid to Count de la Grandiare—whom we have to thank for Monsieur Vincent —in allowing him to photograph these inestimable treasures.
M. Daniel-Rops has written the commentary. Irene Dunne reads the English version for exhibition here and in the Commonwealth and the U.S.A.. and the French actress, Elina Labourdette reads it in the original.
At the moment of writing there is no word of Ave Maria being brought over here — but we're hoping.
NOR can I get any definite date " about the George Bernanos production, Diary of a Country Priest, of which I spoke some weeks ago. But reports continue to come in about the profound impression it has made on the French critics.
Robert Bresson, the young producer of the film. has made one other picture with a Catholic theme, Les Anges du Peelle, which was written by the Paris Dominican, Fr. Bruckberger.
Bernanos, you will remember. won the Grand Prix de l'Acadomie Francaise with his novel in 1938. In 1948, when Robert Bresson had read the book and had agreed to make it into a film, he arranged a meeting with the author so that they could discuss the method, treatment and so on.
Bernanos died on the very eve of this meeting and it is said that after the plaudits of the critics, all that Bresson said was: " I wonder if he is satisfied ?"
In acknowledgement of the cooperation of the folk of the two villages. Ambricourt and Torcy. the scene of the "Diary" and where the major part of the film was shot, Robert iBresson has arranged a special showing for them in the cinema at Arras.
pOBERT Bresson has already his ROBERT film lined up. It is the