Robert Bresson (25 September 1901 – 18 December 1999) was a French film director known for his spiritual, ascetic style. He contributed notably to the art of film and influenced the French New Wave. He is often referred to as the most highly regarded French filmmaker after Jean Renoir. As Jean-Luc Godard said, "Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is the German music."
Bresson was born at Bromont-Lamothe, Puy-de-Dôme, the son of Marie-Élisabeth (née Clausels) and Léon Bresson. Little is known of his early life, and the year of his birth – 1901 or 1907 – varies depending on the source. He was educated at Lycée Lakanal in Sceaux, Hauts-de-Seine, close to Paris, and turned to painting after graduating. Three formative influences in his early life seem to have a mark on his films - Catholicism, art and his experiences as a prisoner of war. On his beliefs, Bresson had called himself a "Christian atheist".
Initially also a photographer, Bresson made his first short film, Les affaires publiques (Public Affairs) in 1934. During World War II, he spent over a year in a prisoner-of-war camp - an experience which informs Un condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (A Man Escaped). In a career that spanned fifty years, Bresson made only 13 feature-length films. This reflects his meticulous approach to the filmmaking process and his non-commercial preoccupations. Difficulty finding funding for his projects was also a factor.