This is how I would introduce a newcomer to foreign classics, from most accessible to least accessible. I'm still a…
Au hasard Balthazar
The sad life and death of Balthazar, a donkey, from an idyllic childhood surrounded by loving children, through adulthood as a downtrodden beast of burden. His life is paralleled with that of the girl who named him, and as she is humiliated by her sadistic lover, so he is beaten by his owner. But he finds a kind of peace when he is employed by an old miller who thinks he is a reincarnated saint.
Robert Bresson has an insane 7 films on the Sight and Sound list.
Now, I may or may not possess the Malick gene, the jury is still out, but having watched two Bressons now (this and Pickpocket) I'm almost certain I do not possess a Bresson gene.
Maybe...completely devoid of the Bresson gene.
This is, without a doubt, the main director that is so critically praised and universally loved and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why. To put it bluntly - these two films are shit. I know I'll catch some flack for that statement, but I stand by it wholeheartedly...for now. Maybe, down the road I'll come to see Au Hasard Balthazar in a new light.…
Please, please, please just read Matthew Ekstrom's review. I am far too teary to even think about writing anything about this film. Plus, I don't think that I could even write anything as perfect and beautiful as his review. 'Au Hasard Balthazar' is a truly powerful experience and one of the most beautiful films ever made. Now excuse me while I go cry my eyes out.
DonkeyHood! the life story of Balthazar the donkey and people around him. Masterfully directed by Robert Bresson (director of one of my favorite films ' A Man Escaped') This another beautifully shot masterpiece. Its not easy film to watch, its shows the lust, weakness, greed, cruelty and hope of humans, deals with life and death, which is very heartbreaking and unsettling. Most of the characters in this film are assholes, especially Gerard, this will put people off. The last image stays in your head.
A very slow, very moving take on the burden that is life, Bresson's classic assigns a good deal of its audiences' sympathies to the simple eyes of a donkey. In the hands of a great director he makes for a brilliant protagonist, and that's exactly what Bresson proves himself (this is my first of his). There's a particularly majestic scene that sees our hero exchanging glances with a series of caged circus animals; it's impossible to describe with words just how much it affects you. Bresson has the ability to imbue his scenes with remarkably underscored meaning, from the emotional intensity behind every glance to the many religious parallels the story draws. I'm not sure I was quite as open to it as I should have been—certainly a fault of my mood rather than the film—but the achievement here is undeniably stunning.
Part of my 5 Directors x 5 Unseen Films (5) challenge.
This is not the easy movie it might appear to be on the surface. It is much more complex than the life of a donkey named Balthazar. It is an allegory with religious overtones. It is a parable of man's inhumanity to man. It is a mystery, a caution and a joke. So you can hardly be wrong about how you interpret it. It is all things to all viewers depending upon how they watch it.
Writer-director Robert Bresson uses the donkey to give us a focal point as he explores the complexity of relationships in a small French border town. We see the girl Marie (Anne Wiazemsky) as…
I finally found a little bit of a peace of mind to write something about this (not really because of the films content but because of personal reasons).
Au Hasard Balthazar is a peculiar film to say the least. Its highly minimalist structure and story, its stiff acting and its allround strange atmosphere make it a hard film to categorise in any way. Jean-Luc Godard famously said it was "the world in an hour and a half" and I can definitely understand where he gets that idea, but I don't think this film is as groundbreaking, universal and perfect as people like him think it is. But it sure is something to wonder about.
The story basically follows the eponymous…
This is probably my first ever film review. I do not expect anyone to read it, and secretly, I wish no one would read it. I have had a recent rebirth lately into the world of cinema and its overwhelming nature provides me with an extreme sense of insignificance, anyway, so yeah, Au hasard Balthazar.
It's my fourth French film to watch and my first 'Bressonian' film. To keep it simple, I have enjoyed this one the least. I watched this film mainly because I read somewhere that Tarkovsky cared much about Bresson's opinions, hence, the urge to check out Bresson. Now I cannot really see where the wonders lie in Au hasard Balthazar.
I thought it was pretty dull…
There are several ways to read this, but it certainly deals with exploitation, cruelty, commodification, and love. The religious allegory gets at general existentialism rather than a strict Christian interpretation of life, and that pushes it into the same space as Winter Light, The Decalogue, and Babette's Feast regarding semi-religious material that actually works for me. Regardless, it's essentially perfect both as an intellectual puzzle and as an emotional experience.
:( really wanted to like this one
The perils of pet ownership according to Bresson. I love my cat.
A strange narrative, though I'm not sure what I was expecting from a movie about a donkey. A film I'll likely appreciate more on second viewing, when I have a better grasp on where Bresson is leading us. But there are beautiful things here, no doubt, not the least of which is the Schubert piece that accompanies much of the action (though I'll always enjoy a film with a carefully curated playlist for a soundtrack, I'm becoming more intrigued by the technique of choosing one piece to carry throughout a work, here also carrying through time, the one constant in the uncertain lives of these characters, each use lending us a new understanding of the piece in relation to the action).
Bresson's style is disconcerting for the uninitiated. He shows the bare essentials and relies on the viewer to fill in the gaps, both in terms of story and emotion. The characters show zero affect. We're not told how we should be feeling at any given time. We watch the events and think about their meaning. We do the work. I admit it took me a good hour or so into this movie to start grasping this, but once it clicked, the experience began to feel personal.
Now, make no mistake. Although Bresson relies on the viewer to meet him halfway, this is very different from garbage like The Passion of the Christ that assumes one very specific world view in…
I did not like this film. That's it. Maybe I'll like it in the future, but for now, I did not enjoy the style. There was a two-hour lecture about Bresson followed after the screening so I know about his unique styles and everything but it doesn't help in my case.
I hope Bresson's intended message with this film was that all men are bastards because otherwise the message is lost on me
Those below are not available on the site (from what I can tell).
24 Frames Per Century
Black Something (Zellners)…
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. An easy way of seeing how…