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Au Hasard Balthazar

By 1966 Robert Bresson could be comfortably grouped into the category of “masters of French cinema,” having already made such heralded films about men in solitary situations as Diary of a Country Priest, A Man Escaped, and Pickpocket. With Au Hasard Balthazar, however, Bresson turns his focus to the animal world through a plain spoken and ultimately tender portrait of the life a donkey, Balthazar, who lives a quiet existence on a rural farm alongside his caretaker, Marie (a radiant Anne Wiazemsky). When the pair are separated following a series of unfortunate circumstances, the film becomes a couplet of existential longing, Bresson focusing on the transcendent moments that emerge forcefully in spite of yet often due to human cruelty. “Everyone who sees this film will be absolutely astonished, because this film is really the world in an hour and a half.”—Jean-Luc Godard. (French with English subtitles)

Read Roger Ebert’s review of the film (3/19/2004)

Genres: Drama

Other Films by Robert Bresson

Angels of Sin

Bresson’s first feature hints at the themes for which his later films would become famous: isolation, suffering, martyrdom, and the struggle for redemption and grace. A sophisticated young woman (Renée Faure) joins a Dominican convent dedicated to the rehabilitation of criminal women and devotes herself—to the point of obsession—to “saving” a bitter and rebellious young


Robert Bresson’s final film, made when he was 82, is a modern adaptation of Tolstoy’s turn of the century story “The Forged Coupon.” A searing morality tale, the story follows the plight of a young man falsely accused of passing a counterfeit bill. As fate would have it, he turns to become the criminal he