Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Average Rating: 9.2/10
Reviews Counted: 34
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Average Rating: 8.8/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 0
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Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 6,565
Robert Bresson's acclaimed Au Hasard, Balthazar presents an unfettered view of human cruelty, suffering and injustice, filtered through the eyes of a donkey over the course of his long life. The burro at the film's center begins life peacefully and happily, as the unnamed play-object of some innocent children in bucolic France, but his circumstances change dramatically when he becomes the property of a young woman named Marie - who christens him Balthazar. As she grows up and encounters tragedy
May 25, 1966 Wide
Jun 14, 2005
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The film could have sunk beneath this symbolic burden, yet it is lightened by the speed and precision of Bresson's art; he could derive more from one pair of hands than most directors can from two hours of blood and guts.
Perhaps the greatest and most revolutionary of Bresson's films, Balthazar is a difficult but transcendently rewarding experience, never to be missed.
The film is perhaps the director's most perfectly realised, and certainly his most moving.
This is neither an easy film, nor, in the show biz sense, an entertaining one. It makes large demands upon its audience, and in return confers exceptional rewards.
Bresson is one of the saints of the cinema, and Au Hasard Balthazar is his most heartbreaking prayer.
The antithesis of cute Disney films about animals, Au Hasard, Balthazar is a stark meditation on existence in which meaning is conveyed through images and sounds, culminating in a moment of sublime epiphany.
With Bresson, patience is rewarding, and not just because Balthazar has an ending both strangely beautiful and profoundly sad. It's worth the effort to connect to this singular vision, one that's austere and humane in equal measure.
If you can see past the heavy-handed religious overtones you will encounter an inspired and deeply intelligent Bresson classic.
It's a cinematic experience that deserves to be discover for those who want more than what they are told to watch.
The film does maintain a powerful mood throughout, a kind of stringency, and the fate of the humans fades into insignificance as the film draws to a bleak close.
It's a study of human weakness and cruelty, it's a portrait of Christ the suffering servant, it's the heartbreaking story of a young girl's descent from innocence to despair. But above all, it's a movie about a donkey.
A deft, impassioned, and wrenching film, but also - emphatically, absurdly - a film about a donkey. Indeed, it hardly pretends to be much more.
Each scene emerges as a minor miracle. Which makes the sum total an object of extraordinary glory.
The lens of dispassion Bresson invites us to look through during Balthazar embodies "a prayer which slips into life without interrupting it."
Robert Bresson's aesthetic of realist, material sounds and images assembled in paradoxical ways virtually defines the cinematic parable...
This is what makes Au Hasard Balthazar so powerful, and yet so distant. It asks as much of its audience as it does of its characters...
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