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Pickpocket DVD

Robert Bresson, 1959

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Film Details

Directed by Robert Bresson

Produced in 1959

Main Language - FRENCH with English subtitles

Countries & Regions - European Film, French Film

Cast

Martin LaSalle

Genres

Classic Drama MoviesEuropean FilmFrench Film

MovieMail's Review

Released in 1959 at the dawn of the French New Wave, Robert Bresson’s fifth feature, Pickpocket, established a link between the masterworks of the past and the cinema of the future. Conceived and shot in a matter of weeks, the film’s use of real Parisian locations (streets, cafés, depots) and subversion of traditional dramatic techniques helped set the tone for a new era of film experimentation.

Loosely based on Dostoevky’s Crime and Punishment, Bresson’s compressed narrative offers an incisive portrait of a troubled urban recluse, Michel, whose compulsion to steal propels him on an unexpected personal journey. As in Diary of a Country Priest (1951) and A Man Escaped (1957), Bresson records his protagonist’s narration, thus revealing Michel’s ambiguous feelings in a world of relentless physical precision, timing and ritual. A sequence depicting thefts at the Gare de Lyon is a veritable ballet of secret movements and gestures, its aesthetic pleasure emphasizing the intrinsically seductive appeal of Michel’s thievery as well as the practice and dexterity required.

Throughout the film however, a police inspector seems as interested in counselling Michel as he is in arresting him. Their sporadic conversations are spiked with suggestions - Michel claims certain individuals should be above the law; the inspector counters that an arrest could be made at any time, but teasingly hesitates.

Pickpocket is a shining example of Bresson’s fully mature, essentialist style. Nonprofessional actors, eye-level compositions, and an emphasis on sound combine with a perplexing approach to narrative construction (unexplained reversals and ellipses) that creates a carefully modulated viewing experience. Rigorous and subdued yet deeply felt, the film is a surprisingly romantic vision that builds to a profound crescendo, transforming Michel’s search for identity into a passionate proclamation of love.

on 1st April 2005
Author of 32 reviews

Pickpocket

Film Description

An undisputed masterpiece of cinema from Robert Bresson in which a young man is driven by his self-destructive compulsion for petty thievery. He abandons his studies in order to perfect his technique but draws the attention of both a police inspector and a professional thief.

DVD Details

Certificate: PG

Publisher: Artificial Eye

Length: 73 mins

Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 25th April 2005

Cat No: ART295DVD

Subtitles: English

DVD Extras

  • Interview with Robert Bresson
  • The models for Pickpocket - interviews with Martin Lassalle, Marika Green and Piere Leymarie
  • Around Pickpocket - discussions with Marika Green, Jean-Pierre Ameris and Paul Vecchialli
  • Kassagi cabaret performance
  • Trailer.

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Pickpocket

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