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Archive for May 19th, 2009

balth 1

by Allan Fish

(France 1966 95m) DVD1/2

Aka. Balthazar

Donkey Serenade

p  Philippe Dussart, Anatole Dauman  d/w  Robert  Bresson  ph  Ghislain Cloquet  ed  Raymond Lamy  m  Jean Wiener (including “Piano Sonata No.20” by Franz Schubert)  art  Pierre Charbonnier

Anne Wiazemsky (Marie), François la Farge (Gérard), Walter Green (Jacques), Philippe Asselin (Marie’s father), Nathalie Joyaut (Marie’s mother), Jean-Claude Guilbert (Arnold), Pierre Klosowski (Merchant),

Never in world cinema has there been a film so depressing yet so uplifting.  Never in world cinema has there been such a hero.  The hero of Robert Bresson’s minimalist masterpiece is a donkey, who we see from his birth to his death.  Bresson had always been a master in the study of loneliness on screen; one recalls Claude Laydu’s priest in The Diary of a Country Priest, the doomed girl in Mouchette, the solitary confinement of the prisoners in A Man Escaped, the solitude of the life of the Pickpocket.  Yet none of them remotely approach the loneliness here.  This is not the loneliness of actually being alone, but the loneliness of cruelty and harshness.  For this truly is a study in cruelty, not just towards the poor eponymous donkey, but indeed from men towards each other.  (more…)

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