The lead of AU HASARD BALTHAZAR is a donkey. It changes hands repeatedly, sometimes treated well and sometimes abused. With these so called a beasts of burden filmmaker Robert Bresson creates a sublime metaphor for the human condition.

The donkey is named and cared for by Maria, a peasant girl who also goes through a series of sufferings, a gloomy friendless childhood and a silent witness to human weakness. The donkey is a symbol of a moron but also a symbol of a pure soul.

There are so many poetic touches in the movie that it is difficult to hit on them all. Although stylistically a realist picture, its structure and mood are very similar to AMELIE.

Critics have commented a lot about the final scene of the film. (Don’t worry about spoilers, there’s no plot to give away. The film opens with Balthazar’s birth and ends with his passing.) There’s a wonderful feeling of Balthazar finding peace at last, but it is one of the most quiet, powerfully sad moments in cinema history.

AU HAZARD BALTHAZAR is cited as one of the greatest movie experiences of all time, which is an apt description. There may be better movies, but few better film experiences. Once experienced, it is not easily forgotten.


Post a Comment

<< Home