Au Hasard Balthazar
Au Hasard Balthazar
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Synopsis

Inspired by a passage from Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, Robert Bresson''s masterpiece follows the tragic journey of Balthazar, a sad-eyed donkey who experiences a series of cruelties as he''s passed from owner to owner. The animal''s plight mirrors the situation of his first owner, Marie (Anna Wiazemsky), while simultaneously evoking the martyrdom of Christ. The finest realization of Bresson''s unique approach to framing, sound design, and narrative, this is a film "for which the words ''sublime,'' ''transcendent,'' and ''masterpiece'' can seem somehow lacking" (Manhola Dargis, Los Angeles Robert Bresson---France---1966---95 mins.

Reviews of 'Au Hasard Balthazar'

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  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
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  | Joel#2

It was extremely powerful and interesting, addressed a lot of the questions about what it means to be human. I highly recommend it.

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  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
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  | JohnH#1

About half-way through I wondered why this movie wasn't called "Kleiner Esel was nun". It reminded me of "Little man what now", the early '30s novel about a poor schmuck whose life is one misfortune after after another. Poor Balthazar, the donkey, also can't win for losing. All kidding aside, the picture was moving. I don't know what it was about, but it stirred emotions.

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  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
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  | Judith#1

I rate this a classic, though I was baffled by it much of the time. The interview with Bresson was extremely helpful, as was a review I read by Roger Ebert, in explaining Bresson's efforts to keep actors' participation minimal, no delving for motivation, etc., in order to leave causes, motives, and other aspects of traditional movies out and to create Bresson's work as an independent piece of art that integrated image, sound, and ideas. The reviews also explained some interpretations of the braying donkey as like the heroine in its innocence.

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