Reflecting the Mind of the Vatican since 1850
Robert Bresson’s close encounter with Ignatius of Loyola
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The life of Ignatius of Loyola has provided the inspiration for compelling narratives in film and literature: his adventurous journey, full of defeats and victories, fortuitous encounters, bitter clashes, dreams and frustrations, has all the ingredients for a bestseller or a blockbuster, but also for a true work of literary or cinematic art. Moreover, his honest and tireless search for truth in his own life is a universal quest we can all relate to, regardless of religion or culture.

Given such narrative possibilities, we can indulge ourselves in hypothesizing which aspects of his life might be taken into consideration by one director rather than another, or what style might be more effective in communicating a certain characteristic of the Basque saint. For example, what would a film on Saint Ignatius be like if it had been made by Robert Bresson, a director whose style, described as “transcendental” by Paul Schrader, “seeks to push the mystery of life to its extreme consequences”? This question is prompted by the analysis of an unfinished project that aimed to make a film on the life of Ignatius and involved the French director.

The complex vicissitudes of the phases of production and scripting of the film are described in a meticulously researched article by Maria Carla Cassarini, which appeared in the periodical Ciemme. It analyzes the context and circumstances that form the basis of the project, and the role of all who were involved in various ways in the conception and development of the work.
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