Robert Bresson

Au hasard Balthazar

Au hasard Balthazar

A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar follows the donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel but all with motivations beyond his understanding. Balthazar, whose life parallels that of his first keeper, Marie, is truly a beast of burden, suffering the sins of humankind. But despite his powerlessness, he accepts his fate nobly. Through Bresson’s unconventional approach to composition, sound, and narrative, this simple story becomes a moving parable about purity and transcendence.

Film Info

  • Robert Bresson
  • France
  • 1966
  • 95 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.66:1
  • French
  • Spine #297

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview from 2004 with film scholar Donald Richie
  • “Un metteur en ordre: Robert Bresson,” a 1966 French television program about the film, featuring director Robert Bresson, filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle, and members of Au hasard Balthazar’s cast and crew
  • Trailer
  • Plus: An essay by film scholar James Quandt

    Cover by Sarah Habibi

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Interview from 2004 with film scholar Donald Richie
  • “Un metteur en ordre: Robert Bresson,” a 1966 French television program about the film, featuring director Robert Bresson, filmmakers Jean-Luc Godard and Louis Malle, and members of Au hasard Balthazar’s cast and crew
  • Trailer
  • Plus: An essay by film scholar James Quandt

    Cover by Sarah Habibi
Au hasard Balthazar
Cast
Anne Wiazemsky
Marie
Walter Green
Jacques
François Lafarge
Gérard
Philippe Asselin
Marie’s father
Nathalie Joyaut
Marie’s mother
Jean-Claude Guilbert
Arnold
Pierre Klossowski
The grain dealer
Jean-Joel Barbier
The priest
Marie-Claire Fremont
The baker’s wife
François Sullerot
The baker
Jacques Sorbets
The gendarme
Jean Rémignard
The attorney-at-law
Credits
Director
Robert Bresson
Written by
Robert Bresson
Executive producer
Mag Bodard
Assistant director
Sven Frostenson
Assistant director
Jacques Kébadian
Assistant director
Claude Miller
Director of photography
Ghislain Cloquet
Cameraman
Jean Chiabaut
Sets
Pierre Charbonnier
Sound
Antoine Archimbaud
Sound
Jacques Carrère
Editor
Raymond Lamy
Music
Franz Schubert
Performed by
Jean-Joel Barbier
Jazz and songs
Jean Wiener
Continuity
Genevieve Cortier
Animal trainer
Guy Renault
Production design
Philippe Dussart

From The Current

Au hasard Balthazar
Au hasard Balthazar
Godard’s famous claim that Au hasard Balthazar is “the world in an hour and a half” suggests how dense, how immense Bresson’s brief, elliptical tale about the life and death of a donkey is. The film’s steady accumulation of incident, charac…

By James Quandt

Once There Was Everything
Once There Was Everything

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Filmmaker :: kogonada tweets at @kogonada and tumbles at missingozu.tumblr.com. You can view some of his work at kogonada.com.

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The great Austrian filmmaker spoke with us about his early experiences falling in love with cinema and the films that have shaped his singular aesthetic.

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Robert Bresson

Writer, Director

Robert Bresson
Robert Bresson

A singular, iconoclastic artist and philosopher, Robert Bresson illuminates the history of cinema with a spiritual yet socially incisive body of work. Famously dubbed a “transcendental” filmmaker (along with Yasujiro Ozu and Carl Dreyer) by Paul Schrader, Bresson is notable for continually refining the strict precision of his style—abolishing psychology, professional actors, and ornate camera work, and instead concentrating on the rigid movements of his “models” (as he called his actors) and the anguished solitude of his martyred characters. While the alternately tender and brutal allegory Au hasard Balthazar is widely considered Bresson’s masterpiece, he had a long, visionary career that began in the forties and ended in the eighties, and was full of consistently fine films—the period drama Les dames du bois de Boulogne, the ascetic character study Diary of a Country Priest, and the minimalist tragedies Pickpocket and Mouchette among them.