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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.

Director:

Robert Bresson

Writer:

Robert Bresson

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5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Sweden

Language:

French | Latin

Release Date:

25 May 1966 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Au Hasard Balthazar See more »

Filming Locations:

Guyancourt, Yvelines, France

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,325, 19 October 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$39,388, 14 December 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. 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

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

 
Confessions of a Philistine
12 November 2007 | by jeremyglickSee 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.


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