Robert Bresson's tragic masterpiece The Diary of a Country Priest tells the story of a young priest who becomes a failure. The young man's face looks withdrawn and solemn throughout the story as he becomes strained trying to carry out the responsible duties of a priest at his new local parish; doing his best in making a positive influence within his community. He truly believes God has sent him to the small town of Ambricort to help his local population during the cold and bleak winter, but when arriving his flock mock him, spread cruel gossip about him being a drunkard and eventually drive him to the bitter point of defeat.
Along with The Passion of Joan of Arc, Diary of a Country Priest has been called by many as one of the greatest Catholic films ever made. Both of these films center on tragic characters who are strong believers in faith and who inhabit a cruel sinful society that tries their best to set out and destroy them. Robert Bresson is considered one of the great masters in the art form of the cinema and most of his films center around the harsh themes of pain, redemption, sin, death, and human cruelty. In his book, Sculpting in Time, legendary director Andrei Tarkovsky describes Bresson as "perhaps the only artist in cinema, who achieved the perfect fusion of the finished work with a concept theoretically formulated beforehand." The priest of Ambricort starts out as a young and ambitious man who truly believes in what he is doing, but within time and with the slow failing of his health he not only comes to lose his ambition as a priest, but he loses his faith in God as well.