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Saturday, March 08, 2014

Au hasard Balthazar (1966) d. Robert Bresson

Anne Wiazemsky gives an ICONIC performance as Marie in Robert Bresson's masterful Au hasard Balthazar

Movie Review
Au hasard Balthazar (1966)
 d. Robert Bresson
Criterion Collection #297

  Au hasard Balthazar probably gets fewer viewers than it should because the one line synopsis of the plot typically reads, "A movie about a donkey!"  But for the title you could say that Au hazard Balthazar is just as much "about" Marie- played by Anne Wiazemsky in her first role- Godard was so smitten by her in this movie that he subsequently married her.

  Balthazar is the titular donkey, and the movie traces his life as he is passed around between different members of a small town.  In the beginning of the film, he develops a special relationship with young Marie, then as she grows older things get worse for both of them.  Marie hooks up with a local rogue named Gerard.  It's a romance that ends poorly for Marie and ends in her sad and untimely death.

  Throughout Au hasard Balthazar Bresson demonstrates the distinctive style that made him the first "Auteur" to be identified by the critics at the Cahiers du Cinema.  Robert Bresson is not just a cornerstone of Modern Cinema, he's also a filmmaker seemingly in the heart of the Criterion Collection itself- the fact that only has 6 films is probably down to the fact that he didn't make that many films, period.


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