Friday, April 8, 2011

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)
Pickpocket (1959)

Genre: Drama
Director: Robert Bresson
Starring: Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
Duration: 76 min.
Rating: 9.3/10

A solitary young man yields to an uncontrollable urge to steal from a woman’s handbag in the crowds at a horse race.  He is caught, but released through lack of evidence.  Afterwards, he reflects on the morality of crime and arrives at the conclusion that a certain privileged class in society has a right to steal.  He turns his back on his dying mother and his few friends, and resumes his pickpocketing, unable to control his addiction...


Pickpocket directed by Robert Bresson, is his fifth feature film and his first original screenplay.  It is a crime drama that, much like his two previous films, Diary of a Country Priest and A Man Escaped, utilizes narration as a crucial plot device.  Combining everything Bresson learned about film making from his previous outings together exquisitely, he delivers an undisputed masterpiece of simplicity.

Presented in his well-honed minimalistic style, Pickpocket is edited masterfully down to its essential parts, leaving a modest running time of only 76 minutes.  The cinematography and direction are brilliant, highlighted by one intricately choreographed scene showing a team of pickpockets going about their work aboard a train, they move so fluidly and gracefully as they pilfer one unsuspecting traveler after another, it is an absolute treat to watch.

The cast is also perfect, once again using non-professionals, who Bresson referred to as models rather than actors.  Martin LaSalle plays the protagonist flawlessly and his inexperience I think really helps show his character's conflicted nature.  Also, supporting actress Marika Green who I must say looks uncannily like Natalie Portman (see the 6th screenshot and tell me I'm crazy), is rather impressive in her limited screen time.  Their emotional scene together at the end of the film is one of the most remarkable I have ever witnessed.  So simple yet so powerful.

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)

Pickpocket (1959)

 Pickpocket (1959)


Jack L said...

She does look a bit like Portman, I see what you mean, but her mouth isn't as big...

This is one I must see, a 9.3/10 from you is impressive! I think it's the highest rating I've ever seen on your blog so far...

The Angry Lurker said...

You're right that is Natalie Portman, she must be a lot older than she looks:D

Bonjour Tristesse said...

You are right, I don't easily give out high ratings, but this film is so close to perfection. Definitely a must see for any film buff.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Hello and welcome!

Hermann Rorschach said...

"Nothing is lower, more base..."

Am I committing a major faux pas stating that I am extremely happy that this is currently being seeded quite well somewhere?

Matt Neumann said...

Looks fantastic! great blog...just started following

The Reel Foto said...

Lovely poster!

Adalmin said...

I have a huge paranoia about pickpockets...even fictional pickpockets. I actually grabbed my purse after reading this review -_-U

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Only if you hit and run.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I'm the opposite. It might sound strange but I've always been warned about pickpockets in big cities, so I always have an empty wallet in my back pocket when traveling, and I feel a little disappointed that nobody has every tried it on me.

Moob said...

this movie seems so familar, although I can't recall where I would have seen it. Anyway, thanks for the post


Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks for coming by.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

 Thanks Jeff, I can't say I love that one, but I do respect it's achievments.

Jeff Pike said...

Nice piece. Still mean to catch up with this one day -- I love Bresson's donkey movie, Au hasard Balthazar.

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