This is just as bleak as it is an empowering film on the endurance of the soul. We often times feel at the mercy of evil in our lives; but still we find the will to press on, even if our burdens never lift. Such is the case of Balthazar and Marie. This is the type of religious film I'm inspired by–one that refuses to spoon feed a sermon, rather encourages inquiry into our suffering. Frustrating, but wonderful.
Painful to watch, but essential. Not my favourite Bresson and Wiazemsky didn't have as much presence as she deserved. However in terms of an animal's performance, I'd put it right at the top in film history. Though who was really 'humane' in this? Aren't we all animals? Emotional films like this really make me question human nature. I should rewatch, but damn, it's painful.
Even today watching this film, one can't help but feel that is as different as it was when it first came out in 1966. Deliberately simple, with its simplicity probably adding the most to its transcendent feeling. As close to a cinematic poem as there is.
A unique film in the history of cinema that merges so effortlessly and truthfully materialism and idealism. Matter spiritualizes, spirot materialized is the metaphysic that transforms scenes like the one between Gérard and Marie in the 2CV, or the De Sadean glimpse with the demeaned nude Marie, into 'absolute' images -beyond dualisms. And in all this Balthazar's ascent to Calvary redeems a fallen humanity. Sublime!
Bresson manages the difficult feat of simultaneously using Balthazar to put human cruelty under the microscope, whilst respecting the ‘non-human-ness’ of Balthazar by refusing to translate a donkey’s experience of the world into the dinky Disney-eque terms of the human. It reminds me of what Gayatri Spivak said: 'All are equal but all are not the same'. This film is a moving demonstration of that principle.
A film filled with endless poetry and unforced symbolism. This is a work about the objectivization of, not only animals, but of women, children, sickness, wealth and religion. Looking at Balthazar being eaten alive by the problems in his world is like looking oneself in the mirror, while society turns innocence and purity to suffering and blind cruelty. A true work of art from one of the greatest directors.
Il y a quelque chose de définitivement bouleversant dans la souffrance des bêtes lorsqu'elle est infligée par l'homme. Bresson choisit d'aborder la cruauté de l'existence à travers la vie d'un âne, un animal humble, la proie des mauvais traitements, le témoin des errances des hommes, quelquefois aimé, le plus souvent maltraité. Un film qui prend aux tripes.
I truly enjoy abstract and surreal experiences. With that said, the plot here is absurd, and not in a good way. Apart from Anne Wiazemsky the performances aren't captivating (to say the least), which does not help. Basically, a story of sadistic people obsessed with a donkey... There are a couple of promising moments of greatness, certain dialogues or the cinematography, but overall the film left me disappointed.