Henri Cartier-Bresson DVD Review: 2-Disc Collectors Edition

A multi-media Renaissance Man who incorporated photography, cinema, painting and drawing into capturing some of the key historical and cultural moments of the last century, the late innovative French born Henri-Cartier-Bresson is often considered the father of modern photojournalism. He also helped create and develop the concept of street photography or real life reportage, that has influenced generations of photographers that followed him.

Now a visual treasure trove of documentaries by and about Cartier-Bresson have been gathered into an extraordinary 2-Disc Collectors Edition that bears the famed photojournalist/filmmaker’s name as its title. Included are documentaries he shot between the 1930s and the 1970s spotlighting in particular the Spanish Civil War and the turbulent early 1970s in the US, and which all bear witness to his affection for the cinema, a medium that Cartier-Bresson conceived as as ‘an alternative to photography in the way it sees the world and captures its movement.’

Also contained in this over five hours long lavish Collectors Edition are a series of documentaries about the artist, rediscovering his powerful and rare photographic work; five major films directed by Cartier-Bresson himself; and a 24-page illustrated collectible book containing criticism of his work as well as reproductions of his legendary photographs. The individual titles within the collection are:


Victory of Life* (1937)

Spain Will Live* (1938)

The Return (1945)

California Impressions (1970)

Southern Exposures (1971)


Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye (2003)

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Adventure (1962)

Contacts: Henri Cartier-Bresson (1994)

Flagrants delits (1967)

A Day in the Studio of Henri Cartier-Bresson (2005)

Lest We Forget: Letter to Mamadou Ba (1991)

* Restored from the Archives Francaises du Film du Centre National de la Cinematographie, Ministere de la Culture


Includes a 24-page illustrated booklet

Three additional documentaries

A montage of Bresson’s photos

Five of Bresson’s major original films

1991 film Bresson made with Martine Franck (Lest We Forget: Letter to Mamadou Ba)

The Henri Cartier-Bresson Collectors Edition is also being released in conjunction with the first Retrospective of his works in the US in three decades at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. After MOMA, the Retrospective travels to the Art Institute of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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4 stars

Prairie Miller
Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network's Arts Express.