1001 Flicks

Regularly updated blog charting the most important films of the last 104 years.

Monday, March 23, 2009

350. Pickpocket (1959)

Directed By Robert Bresson


A guy gets his jollies from pickpocketing. He ends up going to jail, at least he gets the girl.


When the average non-French person thinks of French cinema it is probably something similar to a Bresson film that comes to his mind. Deep philosophical thought, slightly boring, unnatural acting and revered by boffs for some inexplicable reason.

Well there are plenty of reasons to like or love Bresson, Un condamné à mort s'est échappé is a perfect example of why to love him. Journal d'un Curé de Campagne is a better example of why not to like him. This film sits somewhere in the middle. The acting is not stellar, and although some will argue that he used non-professional actors and that the turmoil happens within, some scenes are so stuntedly acted that they are distracting.

Good things about the film are also easy to find, stylistically it is beautiful. The pickpocketing scenes are choreographed like a ballet, exciting and beautiful to look at. But then it all falls apart due to a plot you don-t care about because the actors play parts you don't care about. The main character is annoying and amoral, although he does invent a really bad theory about geniuses being above the law. So watch it for it's visual qualities not really for plot or acting. Marika Green who plays the love interest is however a really beautiful lady, and the aunt of Eva Green, she gets her kit off and has lesbian sex in Emannuelle, just for reference.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The film is considered an example of "parametric narration" (in which the style "dominates the syuzhet [plot] or is seemingly equal in importance to it".

Roger Ebert sees echoes of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment in this film.
"Bresson's Michel, like Dostoyevsky's hero Raskolnikov, needs money in order to realize his dreams, and sees no reason why some lackluster ordinary person should not be forced to supply it. The reasoning is immoral, but the characters claim special privileges above and beyond common morality. Michel, like the hero of Crime and Punishment, has a 'good woman' in his life, who trusts he will be able to redeem himself. ... She comes to Michel with the news that his mother is dying. Michel does not want to see his mother, but gives Jeanne money for her. Why does he avoid her? Bresson never supplies motives. We can only guess."

Well I know Roger! Because he had robbed her! It's pretty much said in the film, it is why Jeanne is summoned to the police and why the cops get on to him. Roger Ebert... have you even seen the film?

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