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Au hasard Balthazar1966

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  • 4.4
A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, director 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 man. But despite his powerlessness, he accepts his fate nobly. Through Bresson's unconventional approach to composition, sound and narrative, this seemingly simple story becomes a moving parable of purity and transcendence.

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3 members like this review

Without a doubt, the finest donkey film ever made. A true masterpiece (and i don't use that term frequently) by one of cinema's greatest masters of tragedy. In case you were wondering, "au hasard" is a French idiom meaning "by chance". This isn't just the greatest donkey film ever made (yes, there are lots of donkey films, believe it or not), it is one of the greatest films of all. On my personal top ten.

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Member Reviews (10)

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top reviewer

Without a doubt, the finest donkey film ever made. A true masterpiece (and i don't use that term frequently) by one of cinema's greatest masters of tragedy. In case you were wondering, "au hasard" is a French idiom meaning "by chance". This isn't just the greatest donkey film ever made (yes, there are lots of donkey films, believe it or not), it is one of the greatest films of all. On my personal top ten.

3 members like this review
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I don't really feel that Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) is a very good film at all.

The concept of a film where an ever present animal is the visual focus of various social interactions happening around it is a good one, but this film just doesn't get the job done, in my opinion.

The whole film is filled with snippets of scenarios, none of which in themselves tell a coherent story about the characters, or the issues involved. Even trying to arrange these story fragments, after the fact, as one would try to fit together the pieces of a puzzle into a coherent whole, I just can't come up with anything that can make sense of this film for me.

The only sensible constant in the film is the ever present donkey, but SO WHAT? If I want to look at a donkey for 90 minutes, then I can just go to the zoo.

Furthermore, the brutal and neglectful treatment of the donkey in this film is just despicable. I myself find no value in watching an animal get abused in the way that the donkey in this film did. I highly doubt that, in these "politically correct" times, this film could even be made today . The outcry of the "animal rights" people would be too loud. Although I myself don't subscribe to "militant political correctness" in general, in the case of this film, I would agree that the portrayal of the brutal and neglectful treatment of this innocent animal has no place this film.

Overall, I must say that, in my opinion, Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) is just another case of a true "pseudo-classic", a film whose intrinsic merits fall far short of the vaunted cinematic pedestal of film fan worship upon which it has sat for many years.

1 member likes this review
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Absolutely beautiful, touching, an absolute must see, soaring to new heights. Bresson's tale of a Donkey, it's life, it's arduous work, going from owner to owner, most seemingly cruel with little regard for this precious life. Rarely have we seen such a thoughtful glimpse into the life of an animal in cinema, the film is about people, and the way in which they treat this beautiful animal, we often see brutality and cruelty, however the viewer feels love and the pain which the animal endures, ultimately the films beauty is in the love one feels for the Donkey, which Bresson captures and illustrates exquisitely, one of my all time favorite films.

1 member likes this review
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Allegorical unfolding on the nature of man. Not a single character has redeeming grace save for Balthazar's patient endurance in the face of never ending torment. Probably more realism than you are likely to see or want to see.

1 member likes this review
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I feel tremendous empathy for the donkey, Balthazar.

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a stupid story i think_Marie is wonderful so is Balthazar _ Gerard is a total jerk_so many dumb people in this film_but it's all done really well_i think i liked it better the 1st time

When the allegorical nature of this film finally hits you (I figured it out five minutes before the end), you'll be blown away. However, this film does have numerous things that take away from that beautiful moment. The acting is subdued throughout, to the point that the actors just come off as amateur for the most part, especially Marie. Furthermore, all of the characters (save Marie's mother) are irredeemable through one fault or another. I realize that that should just allow the audience to connect to Balthazar more, as an innocent, Christ-like figure, but it's difficult to do that, and perhaps could have been executed better. Furthermore, the story is extremely vignette-driven, and can seem highly disorienting at times. Overall, a passable film, if you want to be angry at your fellow man for a few hours.

Put me to sleep several times... dullllllllllllllzzzzzzzzzlllllllll

A donkey's life can be arbitrary. But so too are human lives, as Balthasar mutely witnesses. Is he a saint, as the old woman says? He never complains of his fate. And he never seeks to do harm. I suppose those are as good criteria for sainthood as any. A strange and beautiful film.

super movie,,,sad tho