"French critic Pierre Bergé said that you have to bring a belief to Diary of a Country Priest, in either heaven or in the cinema. Like the atheistic Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Robert Bresson's film is evidence to a collective spirituality that exists far outside the labels imposed by our creaky systems of belief; the film itself evokes the act of worshiping. This intense spiritual inquiry doesn't cater to any religious persuasion (Georges Bernados, the author of original novel, was Catholic, while Bresson himself was agnostic), but instead speaks to the universal need for personal foundation in pursuing fulfillment and meaning in one's life. The career of a priest, then, acts as a most pure example of one who attempts to lead the examined life. This priest—a young, unnamed man (Claude Laydu, an amateur performer in his first role) dealing with his first parish, a small and hardly steadfast congregation from the remote and insulated community of Ambricourt—is plagued by a spiritual and physical turmoil from which he can't extricate himself. Uncertainty dogs his every step, a flaw that might not be so cardinal but for his occupational requirements as a community leader and spiritual guide. For all his good intentions, he's a mostly useless figurehead.