Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
France, 1959. Compagnie Cinématographique de France. Screenplay by Robert Bresson. Cinematography by Leonce-Henri Burel. Produced by Agnes Delahaie. Production Design by Pierre Charbonnier. Film Editing by Raymond Lamy.
Robert Bresson’s smoothly austere method is applied to this underwhelming but not forgettable miniature crime film. It tells of a young man who struggles to get by through life, and has the option to make an honest living but turns to thievery instead. Disappointing his ailing mother and a lovely young woman with whom he could have a romance, our hero turns out to get as much pleasure from increasing his coffers with his habits as he does from the thrill of pulling it off without ever getting caught…but eventually that has to happen. Lengthy, wordless sequences of perfectly achieved crimes are the film’s best moments; attempts to make something meaningful out of the relationships between the protagonist, played ineffectually by the nonprofessional (and it shows) Martin LaSalle, and his friends and lover fall somewhat flat.
The Criterion Collection: #314
Berlin Film Festival: In Competition