Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sight & Sound Challenge: Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

Film: Au Hasard Balthazar (141/250) 
First Time/Rewatch: First Time

Ugh. Here, audiences! Watch this poor donkey get abused for an hour and a half! This was a hard film to sit through for those reasons...it's just not something you can really prepare for. This was another Bresson film with use of non-actors. In the case of his leading lady, her face is almost maddeningly blank throughout the film as she makes a series of frustrating and at times ridiculous decisions (I seriously wanted to jump into the film and slap her). His films have always held me at a distance, but the presence of the donkey warmed and ultimately broke my heart. The film is not subtle in its portrayal of Balthazar the donkey as a Jesus figure, even at one point wearing a crown. He silently sees the ugliness of the world and the cruelty of everyone in it; even his former mistress is too weak and pathetic to help him or herself. And his fate...I cried at the ending. Bresson may not be my favorite director on this list, but I have to admit I was moved by this one.

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