This is how I would introduce a newcomer to foreign classics, from most accessible to least accessible. I'm still a…
Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.
So after the overwhelming satisfaction I found with Bresson's A Man Escaped, I immediately dove into his next chronological work Pickpocket. With a brisk 75 minute running time and an intriguing premise, I expected to have the same response that I had with his previous work. Whilst I didn't have the immediate affection for this film as I had for A Man Escaped, I have wrestled with it more after the fact to the point that it is showing it's true colours and I am very eager to watch it again.
With Bresson, one must adjust the way they read and understand film, and it helps to recognise his techniques. He throws convention out the window and strips away what…
Well I must say it's very nice of Pickpocket to start off by telling us it's not a thriller.
I'm slightly pissed off by that opening. It could be because I'm over-tired and annoyed and possibly being over-sensitive, but there's a slightly sneery tone behind it that almost smacks to me as suggesting that it would be beneath this film to be labelled a mere thriller. It's a really odd and stand-offish way to start a film, I must admit, and while I suppose in one way I do slightly appreciate its honesty, I think it could have done me a big favour in furthering that honesty.
"This is a…
A film that defies star ratings. Deeply unsettling. I still don't know if I love it, but I do know that it's absolutely brilliant.
"Can we not admit that certain skilled men, gifted with intelligence, talent or even genius, and thus indispensable to society, rather than stagnate, should be free to disobey laws in certain cases?" ~ Michel
If dourness can be beautiful and numbness artistic, then Robert Bresson is the writer-director to make it so. I watched this just a couple of days after viewing his Diary of a Country Priest, and the similarities are striking. There's the same laconic, solitary central figure -- this time a thief named Michel played by lanky Martin LaSalle -- and there's the recording of personal thoughts in a journal. Although this film takes place in Paris among lots of people, Michel is just as alone in…
A.V. Club review. Try as I might, I can't make the final line reverberate back through the entire film, which is what would need to happen for it to have the ecstatic effect Bresson clearly intends. Had enormous difficulty addressing that very personal reaction in the review while simultaneously acknowledging Pickpocket's importance and the fact that many people consider its ending one of cinema's greatest, which is one of several reasons why I think a blanket ban on the use of first person is wrongheaded. (Hi various editors!)
A suit that's slightly too large. Impassive eyes that hold yours just past the point of comfort and suddenly drop. Delicately roving hands that slide over a cuff, a button, a purse clasp, and slip inward - or shy away.
I'm not sure when I've been more uncomfortable in the company of a protagonist. Watching him is like an experience of repeatedly, accidentally catching someone masturbating - and then we both walk away, pretending no one saw such a private compulsion made public.
In the final moments, the impassive eyes change; they are less secretive, hidden; there is, even, an open, innocent eagerness. My discomfort drops for the first time.
But then, "Fin." What has that last scene resolved? I am not sure.
Qué bonita antropología de un ratero.
It's the sense of privacy in this movie that really appeals to me. Michel is a an outsider and his pleasures are covert, thrilling, illegal. Walking down the street in his rumpled suit he can pass for an ordinary citizen, but his true identity is a secret. With his voiceover narration, he's a stranger giving himself to others under cover of darkness--the darkness of the movie theatre, or perhaps the darkness of a dirty and cheap room in living quarters like his own, with a sympathetic soul, a fellow outsider, looking into his heart.
There's a lot here to like. 'Pickpocket' is short, direct, and thought provoking yet I liked 'L'Argent' better. Maybe that is because 'Pickpocket' has recieved an immense amount of praise from various critics and filmmakers, including my all time favorite director Richard Linklater, so my expectations were probably too high. I still am quite fond of this classic by Robert Bresson and will no doubt revisit it again at some point.
The beat and rhythm that the film runs at during the pickpocketing scenes is pure and energetic. The dialogue is natural while remaining cinematic.
'Pickpocket' was released when the French New Wave had just started and the film shows it. There is a clear complexity and effortless charm and yet Bresson's film is without a doubt different from the popular movement. Bresson is doing his own thing, which like many efforts during the French New Wave, involves making great films.
Pickpocket starts off with a tense, suspenseful opening only to end on a whimper.
Pickpocket tells the story - no wait - the visual equivalence of watching paint dry - of a man who steals things from people's pockets to scrape by. He remains a mystery. And also boring. This guy just cannot act, he simply drones in one monotonous frequency and shows little emotion (except for the unintentionally hilarious scene where they basically throw water on his eyes to sell the fact he's crying). Kind of makes it hard to relate to the guy when he has the emotional range of a cinder block. Now I enjoy characters that are enigmatic, cold hearted, and callous, but that is not…
How do you become a thieve? watch this movie.. Robert Bresson's Pickpocket is one of a kind film, that I was never really exposed to but glad I did. Pick-pocketing scenes are done very classy (smooth criminal) type class.
“Here is a man and here is his situation; what do we think of him?” that's Robert Bresson Cinema.
The way images are cut together in this is amazing. Watched a movie about wizards last week, but what the people are doing in this and how it's presented is way more magical than any of that.
a masterpiece of world cinema
Au Hasard Balthazar was the first Robert Bresson film I have ever seen. Unfortunately, I was utterly disappointed with it and already didn't have much motivation to watch another Bresson film in the near future. Fortunately though, knowing his reputation in the industry, I decided to give Bresson another shot sooner than I planned. And boy am I glad I decided to do that. A Man Escaped viewing is coming next and I couldn't be more excited.
Try as I might with Bresson, his films always end up leaving me pretty cold. Their deliberate flatness reads as affectless to me and no amount of beautifully choreographed pickpocket sequences, and the central one on the train here is quite beautiful, can overcome that. I can acknowledge that his work is formally daring in their purity. I just wish I could reach the emotional heights I'm clearly meant to.
All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1187. An easy way of seeing how…
Those below are not available on the site (from what I can tell).
24 Frames Per Century
Black Something (Zellners)…