#196: Au Hasard Balthazar

wgplttohjxlnbarj3x4zcwf64c5#196 – Au Hasard Balthazar, 1966, Robert Bresson

A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar follows the donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel but all with motivations beyond his understanding. Balthazar, whose life parallels that of his first keeper, Marie, is truly a beast of burden, suffering the sins of humankind. But despite his powerlessness, he accepts his fate nobly. Through Bresson’s unconventional approach to composition, sound, and narrative, this simple story becomes a moving parable about purity and transcendence.

#260: Pickpocket

jwzs3akv1857qnfxisadh52qfl6#260 – Pickpocket, 1959, Robert Bresson

Michel takes up pickpocketing on a lark and is arrested soon after. His mother dies shortly after his release, and despite the objections of his only friend, Jacques, and his mother’s neighbor Jeanne, Michel teams up with a couple of petty thieves in order to improve his craft. With a police inspector keeping an eye on him, Michel also tries to get a straight job, but the temptation to steal is hard to resist.

#639: Diary of a Country Priest

mft7zjqhxuyfall3zyxx1mn2gro#639 – Diary of a Country Priest, (Journal d’un curé de campagne), 1951, Robert Bresson

An inexperienced, sickly priest shows up in the rural French community of Ambricourt, where he joins the community’s clergy. But the locals don’t take kindly to the priest, and his ascetic ways and unsociable demeanor make him an outcast. During Bible studies at the nearby girls school, he is continually mocked by his students. Then his attempt to intervene in a family feud backfires into a scandal. His failures, compounded with his declining health, begin to erode his faith.