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Au Hasard Balthazar

Director:  Robert Bresson
Year Released:  1966
Rating:  3.5

Essentially, it's the life of a donkey, from youth to death, and how he changes hands from abuser to abuser and eventually passes away surrounded by sheep in a field (which certainly ranks as one of the most stirring - and beautiful - death scenes in cinema). Godard's often quoted as saying it's 'the world in 90 to 100 minutes' - Balthazar representing man on the quest for redemption, simply going from one abusive situation to another - and that's, for me anyway, one of the finest compliments ever made towards a film of any kind. My minor complaint is that the film becomes less fascinating when the grotesque humans are actually placed on the screen - with Anna Wiazemsky's frail, mute zombie almost becoming comical - but the fact that Balthazar is a more compelling figure than all the people combined says everything possible about Bresson's worldview ('the meek shall inherit the Earth,' perhaps).

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