Diary Of A Country Priest (1950) by Robert Bresson was another inspired choice from a Phillip Lopate essay who choe this as the film that changed his life. I was familiar with the director through his inclusion in Paul Schrader's book on transcendentalism (which also included references to Yasujiro Ozu and Carl Dreyer). Bresson has created a visually spare and spiritual film dealing with faith, alienation, and perseverance. Using minimal dialogue, introspective journal entries, and isolated long and medium shots, Bresson presents a harsh reality and misunderstood existence of a man of faith in a secular world, where altruism and devotion are viewed with cynicism and distrust by people in the village. Metaphorically, the physical illness of the priest reflects his spiritual health and his vanishing idealism, as his affliction moves from a passing discomfort that is treated with abstinence and self-denial, to an illness that slowly consumes him. The final image of an isolated cross represents the life of the nameless priest: a symbol of suffering, alienation, and human cruelty - yet seemingly, transcendent. These films and novels of the crisis of faith no longer affect me the way they did when I was younger and still challenging my belief system, but I can appreciate the stark portrayal of faith in this film.