A forged 500-franc note is cynically passed from person to person and shop to shop, until it falls into the hands of a genuine innocent who doesn't see it for what it is - which will have ... See full summary »
Sylvie Van den Elsen,
Pretending to be Mohsen Makhmalbaf making his next movie, Hossain Sabzian enters the home of a well-to-do family in Tehran, promising it a prominent part in his next movie. The actual ... See full summary »
A kind but pampered beautiful young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.
Max von Sydow,
French Resistance activist Andre Devigny is imprisoned by the Nazis, and devotes his waking hours to planning an elaborate escape. Then, on the same day, he is condemned to death, and given... See full summary »
Charles Le Clainche,
The plot couldn't be simpler or its attack on capital punishment (and the act of killing in general) more direct - a senseless, violent, almost botched murder is followed by a cold, ... See full summary »
Bob, a old gangster and gambler is almost broke, so he decides in spite of the warnings of a friend, a high official from the police, to rob a gambling casino in Dauville. Everything is ... See full summary »
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... Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Balthazar was an untrained donkey during most of the filming, which made Bressons's work a real challenge. The only scene for which the donkey was trained was the circus math trick. See more »
The "for Sale" sign that is on the fence when Balthazar runs through the gate is different to the one seen in close-up. Also, when he runs through the gate, the sign is in shadow but in close-up it is in full sun. See more »
Au Hasard Balthazar will generally elicit reviews from two types of people: those who consider it an incomprehensible piece of art-house crap, and those who marvel at the genius of Bresson.
I, however, fall somewhere in the middle. I'm aware that Bresson's movie is filled with symbolism and layered with subtext, but his approach turns me off. Bresson's mantra is this: no acting under any circumstances. Step 1 is to hire non-actors. Step 2 is to direct them not to emote. Step 3 is to keep reshooting the scene until the actors give up emoting. It was common for him to do 30 takes of even the simplest scenes. He doesn't do this to be cruel, but because he sincerely believes the truth of the material cannot be revealed until the people saying the lines stop thinking about the fact that they are saying lines. A kind of brute force method of ensuring that no one on his set is attempting to craft a performance. He definitely gets what he's after, but whether or not it's worth seeing is questionable.
As a movie viewer raised in the spoon-fed post-Spielberg Hollywood era, I find it tough to get through Bresson. I disliked Balthazar, but not because I think it's crap. Bresson made his film inaccessible so it would be hard to understand, but because it's so pretentious I didn't WANT to understand it.
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