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January 13, 2006

Au Hasard Balthazar - 7

French filmmaker Robert Bresson's story of a donkey and Marie whose lives come together at different points, and are somewhat paralleled by the abuse they suffer from others. This film was made in 1966 and is influential to cinema, especially its touching and graceful ending. Because the film involves animals who don't talk a lot of the storytelling falls to how the director chooses what to show in the camera frame. Bresson likes to focus on small details like the feet and hands. The dialogue is sparse and the visuals are absolutely necessary for the story to carry on. The film also has allusions of biblical allegory, but is subtle enough that other interpretations have been put forward. Roger Ebert has a good article on the film. A good film that gives its audience plenty to think about, although nowadays most people would probably say it puts them to sleep (I had to pause it myself for a short nap). The only translation I can get for "au hasard" is "at random."

1 comment:

Evan said...

I think this is my favorite movie ever. It's so simple, eloquent and moving and yet it's startingly shocking at times.

Plus I love movies that can use Schubert effectively.

Have you seen any other Bresson films? I would definitely recommend Diary of a Country Priest, A Man Escaped. Pickpocket and L'Argent as well as Paul Schrader's book Transcendental Style in Film. Without that book I wouldn't appreciate Ozu, Dreyer or Bresson nearly as much as I do.