Pickpocket (1959) | 30 September 2011 | 7.00 pm

Dir. Robert Bresson

France 1959 | Black & White | 75 mins | Cert PG

Pickpocket was Bresson’s fourth feature-length film, and directed in the manner of ‘parametric narration’, in which style and tone are equal to plot and character. With echoes of Dostoyesky’s Crime and Punishment, Bresson recounts the tale of Michel, a pickpocket, who lives alone in a squalid Parisian room, and his strained and difficult relation with his mother. The act of stealing for Michel becomes both an economic necessity and an act of self-expression. But Michel is caught and is sent to prison; following his release, with the initial intent of finding an honest job, he soon reverts to his old ways. The film has strong 'Swedenborgian' undertones in which hell is described as the experience of existential displacement and isolation, often resulting in negative cycles of behaviour. Lives and events in Pickpocket are not explained and part of the film’s enigmatic presence lies is in cutting such material away.

More info on the the Senses of Cinema website