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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:55 am
Location: New Avalon KY
ineedyoubad wrote:
Since this film, i have watched pickpocket , l`argent , lancelot of the lake, mouchette, a man escaped, dairy of a country priest and les dames du bois de boulogne and was not disappointed by them.

A Man Escaped is the best Bresson film you'll ever see. If you ever find yourself wondering about Bresson's worth just watch that film and you'll understand why he's a master.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:06 am 

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm
[quote="Jean-Luc Garbo"][quote="ineedyoubad"] Since this film, i have watched pickpocket , l`argent , lancelot of the lake, mouchette, a man escaped, dairy of a country priest and les dames du bois de boulogne and was not disappointed by them.[/quote]

[i]A Man Escaped [/i]is the best Bresson film you'll ever see. If you ever find yourself wondering about Bresson's worth just watch that film and you'll understand why he's a master.[/quote]

I agree, it's my favorite Bresson. I also prefer his [b]Joan of Arc[/b] to Dreyer's take on it, and [b]Une Femme Douce[/b] is wonderful. [b]Le Diable Probablement[/b] is one of his less interesting films IMO.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:09 pm
Saw Balthazar tonight, going to let it stew overnight. I was utterly transfixed all the way from the baby donkey sucking milk to his final rest on the pasture. Every other scene, doors open and close, giving out a lovely visual rhythym.

Whew, is there a film more emotionally shattering than this? I don't think so!

I'm confused by the relationship between Gerard and the drunk guy, why does Gerard keep calling him a murderer? The police interrogation scene with the drunk guy first, then Gerard and his gang lost me. Are they all involved with smuggling or something?

ADDED:

The morning after, Balthazar still stewing in my mind. I'm suspecting that Gerard tags a crime accusation on the drunk guy simply because the guy being a drunk, nearly homeless has no support of any kind in life.

I got physically sick when Gerard lit a fire on Balthazar's tail. I wanted to kill him.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 8:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
Location: sd, ca
Finally got to seeing this and I'm slightly confused. I'm glad about that though because I had the same reaction to Pickpocket, so six months months down the line I might be able to understand it better.

As for the film itself I feel a distant love for it. It being very ambiguous and my own lack of knowledge for Christian symbolism are probably the reason for the distant part. I do like the idea of an animal being the only true innocent. Such an idea never occurred to me before, but it is something I like. Am I right, or even close in thinking that Marie is suppose to show how humans, even under their best attempts, can't keep that same innocence (or should I be saying purity? I have no idea for what the right word is) as Balthazar?

One last thought: The father in his pride seems to be the most looked down upon character. Even 'villains' like Gerard have their own little pet the donkey moments so to speak, but especially after the prologue the father is just shown to be petty and prideful. The only reason I mention this is that in most movies I've encountered he would be played as the unsung hero who fights the corrupt, but not here. Just fascinating.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:31 pm 
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Location: nYc
Tilda Swinton proclaims the donkey's performance the best in cinema.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 2:26 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am
I recently purchased the late Schubert piano sonatas, and listening to D.959 independantly from the film it strikes me all the more what a brilliant choice of score it was -- the imagination it took to connect that piece to tinkling bells and braying donkey.

I wish I had sought out the recording used for the film. I prefer that gruff interpretation to Perahia's more legato rendering.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:14 am 
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Location: New Avalon KY
bottled spider wrote:
I wish I had sought out the recording used for the film. I prefer that gruff interpretation to Perahia's more legato rendering.

There's always Mitsuko Uchida.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 12:13 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:59 am
Yes, that's more like it. Grave rather than lyrical. I remember now my parents raving about the Uchida recording of the impromptus.

~

Changing topic, Bresson remarked in the interview on the criterion disc that the au hasard of the title comes from a family motto. Presumably that's an abbreviated form, in the way honi soit is short for honi soit qui mal y pense. Can anyone flesh that out? Googling hasn't got me anywhere.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:46 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:04 am
Pollini is quite good too.

p.s. heh, yes, even Brando could've learnt something from the donkey(ies) in Balthazar :)


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:32 am
Location: New York, NY
Caught this last week while on vacation, my second Bresson after "Mouchette" (which I grew to love after an initial rough viewing). ''Mouchette' with a donkey' aptly sums up this predecessor (made the year before "Mouchette") except that, unlike a real human with the ability to think and rationalize (even a beat-down-and-defeated girl like Mouchette had the will to make/reject advances and had choices), the plight of an animal whose fate and taken-for-granted presence isn't noticed or cared for by anybody except Bresson's camera (and thus us as spectators) ends up having a little more emotional impact. As in "Mouchette" though (and yes, I realize I've made five references to that movie in the first three sentences of a "Balthazar" recap) the fact the star of the movie is often relegated to secondary-status to the events/characters around him both grounds the narrative in reality (we don't notice what we miss until its missing) and the cruel hand of fate (François Lafarge's Gérard beating and picking the donkey almost at will even though its never his... God, I wanted this punk to get his so bad!) asserting itself over Balthazar's life. Although Anne Wiazemsky is technically the star of the movie (her Marie character is way too passive and self-centered though, but I guess that's the point Bresson would want to get across) Philippe Asselin delivers the most interesting performance as a rural man too proud and stubborn to do what's easy over what he perceives as morally correct. Can't say I loved "Au Hasard Balthazar" but, like "Mouchette" (reference #6), it's the type of movie that stays with you long after its watched.

For a laugh (or to cure insomnia, take your pick) check out the vintage hour-long French featurette from 1966 about the film that (a) shows all the key scenes (including the ending!) and (b) profiles talking heads that clearly look like they wish were anywhere else but where they were at that moment (i.e. Godard). They sure don't make them like this anymore.


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