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4.2
3,941 Ratings

Pickpocket

Directed by Robert Bresson
France, 1959
Drama, Crime

Synopsis

Michel is released from jail after serving a sentence for thievery. His mother dies and he resorts to pickpocketing as a means of survival.

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Pickpocket Directed by Robert Bresson
The same way Michel’s pickpocketing skills rely on slick deception by diverting one’s attention from one’s own pocket, Bresson focuses the audience on form, diverting your attention from the film’s own narrative scheme. This forces the spectator to contrast and compare these two elements (narrative and form) simultaneously. We now associate this with what we call “Bressonian,” and it is as compelling today as it was in 1959.
November 02, 2016
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As in his previous film, A Man Escaped, Bresson’s formal control here consistently astounds. Visually, he strives for… absolute clarity, to the point where the film could easily be followed with the sound turned off… [But the ending] It never really feels as if the film has been steadily building to this communion, and the moment may play as ecstatic as intended only for viewers inclined to perceive it symbolically, with Jeanne representing something much greater than just herself.
July 23, 2014
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The action of its Dostoevskian protagonist, the self-justifying thief Michel (Martin LaSalle), propels the film with exciting sequences of pickpocketing that ease the viewer into Bresson’s austere style. But even if he wasn’t an effervescent aesthete, his filmmaking was perfectly attuned to his moral evaluations, andPickpocket remains one of the clearest examples of Bresson’s minimalism evoking rich character and moral insights.
July 16, 2014
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