The greatest films of all time as voted on by the Criterion subreddit using a ranked top 10 methodology from…
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.
It's one thing to create something masterful and compelling from material that feels designed to entertain an audience, and I don't begrudge any filmmaker from doing it. I love the feeling when I read a premise and I can literally feel the excitement building inside me with each word, and by the time I am done reading even just a brief synopsis I am ready to hand over my money for a ticket instantly even if the release date is still years away.
It's just as fascinating to go backwards in time though, to explore cinema released decades before I was even born. These pictures were often times landmarks of the medium before I even took my first steps, and…
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…
The life of a donkey mirrors the life of a young woman as they navigate the trials of life, mistreated by lovers, beaten by owners, saddled with the burdens of life in a display of almost divine suffering. Their journey from childhood, to adolescence, to adulthood, and finally death takes on a kind of saintly pallor, suffering the trials of Job and the ugliness of the world, with the cruelty of humanity on full display.
Robert Bresson is a filmmaker whose work I admire but find hard to love. His films always keep the audience at arms' length with their often cold austerity. The one exception for me being his masterpiece, A MAN ESCAPED, whose stillness and silence ratchets up…
Nearly every human character in this film is a douchebag. Not that that's ever a bad thing, it's just that the performances aren't good enough anyway to warrant your interest in those characters.
Which leaves us with Balthazar aka DONNKAYY. He is adorable. He becomes the moral center just by being in the frame. The donkey-actors that play him throughout the various chapters of his life also happen to give more honest, interesting performances than all of their fellow human-actors. Cause you know, they're donkeys and all. Natural actors. They don't act, they just live. They steal the show. When Balthazar's not in the frame, and there are two, maybe three douchebags talking about douchey things I don't care about,…
I didn't feel anything.
Donkies don't get enough credit for being cute. I think Balthazar is a saint of being adorable.
Sorry, this deserves a proper review, especially as it was my letterboxd challenge choice but a lot has happened to me since i saw it so I'm essentially just going to log it and say that it is a beautiful film.
In advance i'd heard a lot of people talk about how heartbreaking and sustained the donkey's suffering was, and indeed it is, but what people dont mention as much is the cumulative power of the human suffering and cruelty too and how that parallel story of Marie is almost, although not quite, as touching.
Beautiful, slow, evocative shots of rural France as well that have you feeling the heat and the hardship and the boredom.
Oh I might have a new favorite movie. Whooops.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…