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4,203 Ratings


Directed by Robert Bresson
France, 1959
Drama, Crime


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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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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Bresson equates law breaking with erotic abandon. The director makes the tactile details of Michel’s criminality unutterably pleasurable—the way his hand silently dives and swoops, absconding with wallets and enfolding them in elegantly creaseless newspapers. It’s unusually gorgeous when Michel swiftly uses his thumb to unbuckle a watch from a wrist, followed by the sight of the loot strapped to a table leg in Michel’s apartment like a simian tail wrapped around a tree branch.
September 10, 2013
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