7.7/10
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Pickpocket (1959)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | 16 December 1959 (France)
Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

Director:

Robert Bresson

Writer:

Robert Bresson
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Martin LaSalle ... Michel (as Martin La Salle)
Marika Green Marika Green ... Jeanne
Jean Pélégri Jean Pélégri ... L'inspecteur principal
Dolly Scal Dolly Scal ... La mère
Pierre Leymarie Pierre Leymarie ... Jacques
Kassagi Kassagi ... 1er complice
Pierre Étaix ... 2ème complice
César Gattegno César Gattegno ... Un inspecteur
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Storyline

Michel takes up picking pockets as a hobby, and is arrested almost immediately, giving him the chance to reflect on the morality of crime. After his release, though, his mother dies, and he rejects the support of friends Jeanne and Jacques in favour of returning to pickpocketing (after taking lessons from an expert), because he realises that it's the only way he can express himself... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

16 December 1959 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Pickpocket See more »

Filming Locations:

Gare de Lyon, Paris, France See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,541
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1965)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included in the Toronto International Film Festival's Essential 100, movies every cinephile should see. See more »

Quotes

Michel: Oh, Jeanne, to reach you at last, what a path I had to take.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: European New Wave (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Fragments from Orchestral suite No. 7 (Suite in G, Overture)
By Johann Caspar Ferdinand Fischer (1656-1746) (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Deliberately unconventional approach to filmmaking with great results
23 November 2010 | by pablobgSee all my reviews

Pickpocket is a film that apparently has serious flaws- from the very beginning it displays little to no emotion as the actors on screen just say their lines and the camera just follows them from a distance, with no close-ups or any other tricks.

But what is unique about this film is that this very criticism is actually a deliberate attempt to cause uneasiness in the viewer. And it succeeds- the anxiety, as felt by the pickpocket in his everyday living, is also transmitted to us. So, to correct my previous statement: this movie does not lack emotions- it has emotions: anxiety, uncertainty, but these are delivered in an unconventional manner.

From a personal standpoint, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. It is hard to appreciate this dimension of the film at first. But after seeing some extras from the excellent Criterion package, I was able to understand better. How Bresson actually committed to cause these emotions in the viewer, how he re-shot several times various scenes until the actors just repeated their lines, until no trait of emotions were left. Michel's narration voice-over is flat, plain. These were non-professional actors set to work in a non-standard way, Bresson's way. And the result is this: a film somewhat off-putting, but still a great work of art.


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