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MBC Interactive Archive Retrospective: Highlights of World Cinema PICKPOCKET by Robert Bresson

  • 20 Dec 2018
  • 7:00 PM - 8:45 PM
  • Miami Beach Cinematheque at Historic City Hall, 1130 Washington Ave, South Beach
  • 58


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THU DEC 20, 7p:

MBC Interactive Archive Retrospective:

Highlights of World Cinema



Directed by ROBERT BRESSON/France/1959/1hr, 16mins.

With Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri

Vintage French poster from PICKPOCKET, 1959, from the #MBCarchive

This incomparable story of crime and redemption from the French master Robert Bresson follows Michel, a young pickpocket who spends his days working the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris. As his compulsive pursuit of the thrill of stealing grows, however, so does his fear that his luck is about to run out. A cornerstone of the career of this most economical and profoundly spiritual of filmmakers, Pickpocket is an elegantly crafted, tautly choreographed study of humanity in all its mischief and grace, the work of a director at the height of his powers. (In French with English subtitles).


“There is incredible buried passion in a Bresson film, but he doesn't find it necessary to express it. Also great tension and excitement, tightly reined in. Consider a sequence in which a gang of pickpockets, including Michel, works on a crowded train. The camera uses closeups of hands, wallets, pockets and faces in a perfectly timed ballet of images that explain, like a documentary, how pickpockets work. How one distracts, the second takes the wallet and quickly passes it to the third, who moves away. The primary rule: The man who takes the money never holds it. The three men work the train back and forth, at one point even smoothly returning a victim's empty wallet to his pocket. Their work has the timing, grace and precision of a ballet. They work as one person, with one mind. And there is a kind of exhibitionism in the way they show their moves to the camera but hide them from their victims.”-Roger Ebert

With a pre-recorded intro by director Paul Schrader

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