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
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 »
He is in despair. Comfort him.
[Marie's father turns away]
You must forgive. Everyone. Much will be forgiven you. You have suffered.
I may suffer less than you think.
God does not foresake forever. He may punish, yet he will have compassion. H does not willingly afflict the children of men.
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During the nineteenth century ,the comtesse de Segur wrote a novel for the children called "memoirs of a donkey" .A very pious writer,she chose the donkey as a symbol of humility...as Robert Bresson did I suppose.The very first pictures of the movie,with the children,"christening" the donkey ,might be a nod to the writer whom the young Bresson,like all his generation must have read when he was a young boy."Au hasard Balthazar " is an updated version of "les memoires d'un ane" ,but a very austere story:although Bresson's work enjoys a very high rating on the site,I must say that it's not for all tastes.I cannot imagine,say, a "matrix" fan getting enthusiastic about it.
Bresson's actors are non -professionals -with the exception of Anne Wiazemski,but it was her debut;then she became the par excellence intellectual actress,for the likes of Godard,Tanner and Garrel,all directors that easily make me yawn my head off-,but do not expect a "natural "performance.I hope the non-French speaking who wrote a comment saw the movie in French with English subtitles.Dubbed in another language ,Bresson's works lose a lot of their originality.Because the actors speak in a distant voice,in a neutral style as if they were reciting Descartes's "the Discourse on Method".They never show any emotion,even through their darkest hour (not even after the heroine's rape).
Bresson films his human characters as if they were Martians ,and his sympathy for the donkey is the only pity he has to give us.This beast of burden seems to carry on its back all the sins of the world,and his route is a calvary.A woman says "this donkey is a saint" .
Bresson showed us the Beast in Man and the Man in Beast.
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