Just watched The Impassioned Eye (2003), an interview with Cartier-Bresson and a look at his many photographs along with commentary by a number of other photographers and also Isabelle Huppert (who was the subject of one of his portraits). I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in photography or other fine art.
The photo above I selected (it was not in the film) partly due to it not being one I was that familiar with.
(Correction: see Errata: mea culpa regarding the photograph above….it is NOT a Cartier-Bresson!)
Though I am, like most anyone who looks at classic photography, familiar with many of his works, this film re-opened by eyes to how brilliant his work is.
I think what struck me the most was that it showed how the heart of a photograph lay quite far from perfect exposure or focus. He captured moments of life and in his remarks seems to be bored with the actual process of photography; it is simply a means for him to present life. And he does what much great art does, that is, exhibits the beautiful patterns that coalesce every now and then in everyday life.
His photographs are meditative, the sorts of things that if hanging on your wall would inspire you again and again; ever richer over time.
In the film, there is the added pleasure of hearing from (and seeing) Isabelle Huppert. What intrigued me about this was how this actress seemed so muted when I find her so radiant in film. I think she is one of those who can actually glow and burn under the gaze of a movie camera. The picture below comes from Magnum: Isabelle Huppert: Woman of Many Faces.