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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

Au hasard Balthazar (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 25 May 1966 (France)
The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette.

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5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Marie
Walter Green ...
Jacques
François Lafarge ...
Gérard
...
Arnold
Philippe Asselin ...
Marie's father
...
Merchant
Nathalie Joyaut ...
Marie's mother
Marie-Claire Fremont ...
Baker's wife
Jean-Joël Barbier ...
The Priest
Guy Renault
Jean Rémignard ...
Notary
Guy Brejac
Mylène Weyergans
Jacques Sorbets ...
Police Officer
François Sullerot ...
Baker
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Storyline

This is the story of a donkey and the somewhat difficult life it leads. During a summer holiday, the baby donkey is a child's pet but when they return home, it begins it's life of misery. It works as a farm animal, pulling a delivery cart and working as any manner as various owners require of it. Meanwhile, the young girl who first acquired Balthazar as a pet grows up, only to be badly treated herself by an indifferent and selfish boyfriend. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

|

Language:

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Release Date:

25 May 1966 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Au Hasard Balthazar  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$8,325 (USA) (17 October 2003)

Gross:

$39,388 (USA) (12 December 2003)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Gerard: Lend him to us.
Marie's mother: He's worked enough. He's old. He's all I have.
Gerard: Just for a day.
Marie's mother: Besides, he's a saint.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Seul le cinéma (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No.20 in A Major, II. Andantino (D. 959)
Written by Franz Schubert
Performed by Jean-Joël Barbier
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Robert Bresson was the saint
17 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Bresson's finest work is the result of completely giving up, even the chance at freedom -- because freedom, as the donkey and the girl might have known, is an illusion of joyousness. We see a movie about suffering, of giving in to suffering because to fight it would make you as wrong as the people who are perpetrating the suffering.

Au Hasard, Balthazar is an inspiring reassurance of the existence of God by the lack of even the slightest miracle or good fortune. What is not seen, the saving grace, is made more real and believable in its absence. (This is what the real essence of the Catholic church once was {when it accurately recreated Christ's gift}and what illuminates Robert Bresson's personal spiritual path in the otherwise deeply perverted church of today).

The story, that of a donkey's life, is, on the surface, absurd. But what Bresson can bring to it through the patient austerity of his camera work, the martyr like surrender of his characters (including the donkey Balthazar), is as transcendent and enlightening as a private epiphany. What is amazing is that he is able to project so much depth into an audience so unsuspecting.

Finally, and perhaps what makes this film and all of Bresson's work so illuminating is that he had an unrelentingly objective film sensibility quite like that of Luis Bunuel. And because Bunuel was clearly an atheist, the fact that Bresson would be as naked as Bunuel and still move us is the proof that there was something to his faith.


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