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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
"Au hasard Balthazar" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  25 May 1966 (France)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 8,601 users   Metascore: 100/100
Reviews: 63 user | 81 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

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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Title: Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Wiazemsky ...
Marie
Walter Green ...
Jacques
François Lafarge ...
Gérard
Jean-Claude Guilbert ...
Arnold
Philippe Asselin ...
Marie's father
Pierre Klossowski ...
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
Edit

Storyline

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 <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

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)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The main actress of this movie, Anne Wiazemsky, also became an author; in her book "Jeune Fille", she describes the making of the movie. 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

Marie: Don't you believe in anything?
Merchant: I believe in what I own. I love money. I hate death.
Marie: You'll die like everyone else.
Merchant: I will bury them all.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Road to Bresson (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Piano Sonata No.20
Written by Franz Schubert
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Confessions of a Philistine
12 November 2007 | by (Texas) – See all my reviews

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.


51 of 82 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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this movie sucked ratsnbats
is this the best movie involving an animal with tragedy? meeyakey22
Can someone translate the title for me? rsimanski
Deserves to be in the top 250 QuickSickNick
I didn't cry psy_spectre
The donkey is the only one who can act in this movie! Felix_le_Chat
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