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Au hasard Balthazar
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Au hasard Balthazar

1966
Drama
1h 35m
The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette. (imdb)
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Au hasard Balthazar

1966
Drama
1h 35m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 71.88% from 1622 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1621)
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Rated 22 Jul 2008
5
91st
You wouldn't expect a movie about a donkey to be capable of being so depressing and involving, especially when the director's trademark is to strip his films of outward displays of emotion, but this one is. Balthazar doesn't occupy the screen for as much as you expect, but that helps you to care about him; we observe the struggles of those around him, and his own sad life, and lament that he is privy to such a cruel fate. A very somber film.
Rated 25 Dec 2009
100
99th
A masterpiece of compassion. Like no other film you'll ever see. Bresson reveals the depths of hopelessness and tragedy, and yet there are moments of kindness and transcendence here too.
Rated 01 Mar 2009
10
98th
Nothing but love for Balthazar - and Bresson. I don't just admire, but absolutely love his sparse, ascetic style. The scene where Marie and Gerard lie together in the hay takes all of 10 seconds, but is done with such flair it's almost unbelievable. Bresson chops, crops and shows that the elements left out are as important as the ones left in. A beautiful movie. In every way. Both perfectly raw and perfectly adjusted down to every last frame.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
91
98th
Bresson's unique method works well here, as it does in PICKPOCKET, UN CONDAMNÉ À MORT S'EST ÉCHAPPÉ and MOUCHETTE. The contrast between the non-emotionality of the technique and the inherently emotional nature of the story makes it at times almost unbearable. Many images and sequences are beautifully composed, and the Bressonian focus on hands and feet rather than faces seems to be telling us that mundane acts and deeds are what make the world what it is. Great conclusion.
Rated 01 Jan 2009
95
87th
Who would have thought that a movie about a mistreated donkey would turn out this good? A pure, difficult to watch religious examination, all seen through the eyes of a miserable animal. It's heartbreaking, emotionally sound, confusing, peculiar and unparraled in the wonderful world of modern filmmaking. Make no mistake, Au hasard Balthazar is in, more understandable words: perfect.
Rated 06 Oct 2008
90
89th
Au hasard Balthazar, to me, is an extremely hard film to follow. The pacing is just too fast, and during numerous times throughout the film, i found myself to be rather lost and confused. But upon closer examination, I rewatched it and realised how well made this film was. The life of a donkey being paralelled by his first owner, and the fate of both by the end is just so magical. Bresson is definitely a filmmaker I wouldn't mind seeing more of.
Rated 08 Sep 2009
100
99th
Bresson's pinnacle: deceptively economic, highlighting sound, inviting viewers to engage the mysteries of plot, and relying on absence as a means to understanding. This last element is seen most profoundly in the character of Balthazar who communicates as a character only as he is acted upon. Even most of those acts take place off camera. Bresson shows life as absence and ambiguity rather than presence and clarity, and yet, like Dostoevsky's Myshkin, our despair fades at the braying of an ass.
Rated 07 Oct 2018
92
98th
How in the hell does a story about a donkey of all things manage to be so engaging? This film exudes simplicity but also produces eloquence and nuance, captivating the audience with beautiful shots perpetuated by its silent tone. While the Christian symbolism is rather blatant and obvious, it's easy to look past that when it's a film that ponders the mysteries of life and fate, while also depicting how money plays into our morality. An interesting but profound experiment of a film.
Rated 16 Oct 2009
10
97th
One of Bresson's best, what I loved most is seeing the mistreated Balthazar going from owner to owner, juxtaposed with Marie's own turbulent and weary life. "The world in an hour and a half" according to Godard, the film's pacing is pretty quick, but I want to rewatch it anyway, so... Bresson is wthout a doubt one of my favorite french directors, anyone who comes close these days in conveying a powerful thought provoking message is Audiard and I recommend both their films.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
86
94th
Although I found this initially frustrating for its defiance of standard conventions, upon greater reflection it's impersonal and objective perspective gives the film a sense of pathos and beauty. Bresson's mechanical style works very well in his treatment of Balthazar, whose appearance and behavior throughout the film convey stoic resignation better than any human actor could.
Rated 08 Jun 2012
88
90th
Just didn't get this film. That bitch girl... what a stupid bitch! This is the problem with women today. They love the bad boy. Meh. Toward the end of the film I felt it get a bit more powerful and started to understand what was going on and what I was supposed to feel, I guess. If you're a pretentious prick, you'll likely love this movie.
Rated 17 Nov 2017
4
74th
The beast's burden is to bear witness to sin and cruelty. The viewer's burden is to behold such callousness through the stern, unembellished perspective of Bresson. The donkey and the director are seemingly one and the same. It is a starkness and purity which organically begets compassion and empathy, rather than commanding reactions by signposting.
Rated 15 Dec 2006
83
77th
I think I expected too much from this film, because it's generally hailed as Bresson's finest, and I usually like Bresson. I did like the movie a lot, it just wasn't the blow-me-out-of-the-water masterpiece I anticipated. It is remarkable how close one feels to Balthazar, and by proxy, the people who surround him.
Rated 16 Mar 2010
90
86th
"I had two ideas in this film. First, to see an analogy between the different stages of the life of a donkey and the life of a human being; second, to see the donkey suffering for all human vices." -Robert Bresson
Rated 22 Jun 2018
60
35th
I find Bresson so challenging to watch, because you get out of the movie whatever you bring in to it. His characters rarely show any emotion, so I always feel disconnected from their world. And so few plot questions are answered that it becomes almost a philosophical riddle. Lately, I've been wondering if Bunuel and Bresson aren't "inverse" directors -- the former going overboard to show his dissatisfaction with everything, while the latter only gives slight hints.
Rated 19 Mar 2010
9
93rd
That donkey should be given some sort of acting award. The ending is incredible and perfect in every way. Godard was right about this movie.
Rated 27 Nov 2010
87
86th
Oh God, this is depressing. If any film can prove that audiences give a shit more about on-screen animals than humans, then this is it.
Rated 21 Aug 2013
32
25th
a girl and her donkey are in a contest of who gets taken advantage of the most
Rated 25 Oct 2011
30
12th
Nonsense
Rated 20 Jun 2008
63
60th
Bresson made two or three impeccable films very early in his career, but his past glories don't make up for his minimalist period, where the scripts are next to nonexistent and the actors never ever emote. At least here I had the mistreated donkey to feel sorry for - it's as if its slight expressions cover up for everyone else's lack thereof. I really wish Bresson would have done more with this, it could have been harrowing. The end scene is great.
Rated 31 May 2014
45
9th
Celebrated rural melodrama that totally failed to do it for me. There is some poignancy in these stark and tragic tales, the cinematography is nice and there's a pretty piano motif that pops up to underscore the 'emotional' parts. But, otherwise, this is way more donkey torturing and stock characterizations than I can take.
Rated 30 Jan 2008
90
94th
Sometimes I feel like a donkey...
Rated 14 Aug 2007
85
73rd
Bresson is a very economical director; he only includes the bare minimum of what's necessary to tell the story. While his sense of focus is admirable, it means that his movies stand and fall on the quality of the story. Au Hasard Balthazar is a quality story, but it does get a bit dry and slow some times. It's strange, really, how every scene is so focused, and yet the movie as a whole feels so slow. There's plenty to like here, but the movie falls somewhat short of true greatness.
Rated 19 Jun 2014
35
16th
After watching it for the third time I claim even more confidently that this is one of the most overrated movies of history: because the content of this movie is exact opposite of Bresson's regular themes such as "indispensability of confinement in the world","the daemonic qualities which makes humanbeings worthy" etc. This movie tries to embrace "the good" which such a pretentious romantisicm that mixed with the cold and dull style of Bresson, it becomes a pure parody of optimist nihilism.
Rated 04 Jun 2007
91
92nd
A really interesting view of a donkey as a Christ figure. Balthazar is the only character in the film who is truly pure inside and yet is the one who is most punished throughout. Heartbreaking.
Rated 06 May 2007
80
68th
The exact opposite of American racehorse movies -- a Robert Bresson movie about a mule. Very honest about the mundanity of ordinary life and the yuckiness of people, yet consistently engaging. Chalk up another winner for Bresson
Rated 05 Jan 2019
86
97th
The scenes Bresson creates are amazingly expressive even if the actors move around like zombies. The final scene is quite moving as well. On the downside, me being a self-centered prick, the BYOB style to emotions doesn't really work too strongly for me. Also, while I have an academic fascination with religion, my spiritual religiosity well is too dry to give anything even temporarily. I admire the film more than I really connect with it.
Rated 31 May 2018
100
94th
The flat acting and lack of transitions between scenes made this difficult for me to follow, so I had to watch it twice. The second time it made much more sense when I realized that the plot basically exists as a vehicle for imagery and contemplative musing. It's a testestament to the film that I still found it completely enthralling for two back to back viewings. There really is a sort of reverent hypnotic quality imparted by the combination of religious imagery and dispassionate acting.
Rated 26 Dec 2017
80
87th
Extremely simple concept about a story that unfolds by watching a donkey pass from owner to owner, but in this simplicity lays the complexity of the human nature that we can see through this movie. At times is hard to watch, but is worth it.
Rated 02 Jan 2015
50
0th
Robert Bresson #2
Rated 12 Nov 2017
63
59th
This is a beautifully shot fill filled with soulless, beat down characters. Aside for Balthazar all the characters are completely unlikable. This is one of those films I can appreciate even though didn't really like it.
Rated 20 Aug 2017
93
99th
Has there ever been a more moving death scene in film history? I doubt it. The devastating emotional impact of Bresson's masterpiece resists the often stultifying effects of canonization which enables A.H.B to transcend being a museum piece that you watch out of obligation. No other film explores the depths of human cruelty with such compassion and clarity, and his stark view of the world finds its most profound expression in this story of a helpless donkey's mistreatment. Essential.
Rated 30 Jul 2017
62
39th
I think Bresson maybe just isn't for me. I don't really understand what this was saying. I really appreciate a film that asks it audience to draw its own conclusions, but this feels like a film that asks its audience to draw not only the conclusion, but the premise as well. That said, you certainly feel a real empathy for the donkey, which is impressive given that he isn't anthropomorphized at all.
Rated 26 Nov 2015
7
73rd
hans filmer känns så platta men så finns det ett djup att gräva i om man känner att det skulle vara angeläget
Rated 01 Sep 2015
85
90th
The film's titular donkey, and the suffering he both endures and bares witness to, becomes a potent allegory about the place of innocence and purity in a world that lacks both. Bresson's world is a cruel dystopia of manipulation and exploitation, one in which Balthazar's unconditional love is left unrequited. The minimalist direction best allows for viewers to reflect upon their own lives, bringing forth the deepest of human emotions in an unmistakably powerful piece of cinema.
Rated 24 Mar 2015
90
80th
The sophisticated simplicity of the directing style paired with the harsh realism of the story make this an incredibly powerful, depressing viewing experience that thankfully never pushes its audience too far. Human and animal nature are juxtaposed to a startlingly profound effect, there's no other film quite like it.
Rated 13 Oct 2012
85
83rd
Bresson masterfully portrays the simple life of a donkey and its perspective of the complicated and confusing lives of humans. Plots come and go without being resolved, making it confusing for the viewer as well, even though we get to see more than the donkey ever does. Beautiful ending and score.
Rated 18 Apr 2021
97
97th
Was Bresson always a Cathar?
Rated 28 Apr 2024
80
69th
Most of it goes without saying. But I did get a little weary after a while of the procession of idiots and their various displays of stupidity. Don’t show the teenage criminal that you hide the key directly under the money drawer, I’m not going to feel bad for you when he steals your money. I get the point, but, still, I need a “cynicism about human behaviour” palate cleanse after that
Rated 12 Dec 2023
76
57th
audiovisual 85 acting 74 overall feeling 66 avg 76
Rated 24 Feb 2023
85
92nd
Not my favorite Bresson, but still such a powerful portrait of human sorrow and hopelessness through the eyes of a poor donkey and the miserable people around him -- from delinquent kids to an innocent young girl, from a man in debt to a drunk weirdo. Everybody is in pain and everybody hurts.
Rated 23 Jan 2023
7
54th
A panorama of fallen humanity unfolds through the short life of humble and mistreated servant. Most scenes are difficult, at times even obtuse, but the conclusion delivers a clear and timeless message.
Rated 21 Aug 2022
100
96th
I think it's a rare piece of cinematic beauty, but one I found very difficult to digest.
Rated 18 Jun 2022
75
83rd
Interesting, with many complex spiritual themes. Want to see it again to try and get more meaning from it
Rated 14 Jun 2022
85
69th
When watching the movie , i just wanted to hug a donkey and say i am sorry for everything it is going through.
Rated 07 Jun 2022
95
90th
The cruelty of life portrayed from a donkey's perspective which is used for Christian symbolism. Sounds unreal but this is what this movie is about. Just masterful. Very heartbreaking and tragic at times. Probably one of the best endings I've ever seen.
Rated 04 Nov 2021
90
96th
A severely simple consideration of the insensate nature of fate, delivered through an elusive tale of a donkey and a girl. The sharp cruelty of the world portrayed is contrasted by a collective spiritless performance to develop a unique and amplified emotion to the narrative. A racking oeuvre of Bresson's masterwork in film.
Rated 14 Mar 2019
100
99th
100.00 - 105
Rated 04 Dec 2020
89
86th
So Bresson is a firm believer that girls are only attracted to guys that are mean to them, but how could Marie possibly be attracted to the biker kid after watching him abuse her beloved animal?
Rated 16 May 2020
90
93rd
Beauty through austerity, and a remarkable example of cinema as empathy machine. Made me want to adopt a donkey and give it a good life. What do donkeys eat? Is it crisps? I could give a donkey crisps.
Rated 06 May 2020
70
29th
Years pass, people come and go, lives are lived and lost and one donkey is there to patiently observe it all. Take War Horse, but remove most of the action, pathos and sappiness. What you are left with is a very grim meditation on human nature featuring few sympathetic characters. It is hard to become too invested in any of their stories, but the film itself is quite affecting, nonetheless.
Rated 28 Apr 2020
85
84th
Will need rewatch before reviewing.
Rated 21 Mar 2020
67
46th
başrolde genç bir Serenay Sarıkaya gayet doğru casting
Rated 01 Feb 2020
100
99th
Capricórnio
Rated 25 Jan 2020
80
81st
The virgin Bresson lovingly filming a donkey, vs the chad Tarkovsky pushing a horse down a flight of stairs
Rated 17 Sep 2019
85
87th
as much as I love schubert d 959 2. i think it's overtly used here and casts an ironic layer over the story
Rated 10 Jul 2009
78
66th
various pieces of this are fairly jumbled, and it generally could have done with a more smooth and streamlined flow. the technical aspects are definately satisfying. my biggest complaint is that there really is no reason to sympathize with marie, or for that matter balthazar, sure they go through some crappy stuff, but so what, marie is a dick, and balthazar is an emotionless donkey.
Rated 12 Nov 2010
90
88th
Bresson had an unmatched ability to honestly communicate the tangled beauty and the ugliness making up the whole of life. He works in the extremes here and it makes for a moving work, though I think Mouchette is more successful in a way.
Rated 17 Oct 2010
40
97th
"The lens of dispassion Bresson invites us to look through during Balthazar embodies "a prayer which slips into life without interrupting it." - Eric Henderson
Rated 12 Jun 2010
95
95th
hazirn 2010, yonetmenin izledigim ilk filmi & reha erdem'in ilham kaynagini tamamn bu filmde gorebiliyorum. byle bir sinema anlayisina ulasmak gercekten cok zor. bu kadr oz ve yalin ama kendini direk ele vermeyen, ruha hitap eden bir sinema dili.. dogru ki, hicbir zaman anlatamayacagiz, evinden kacmis yuk esegiyle bir sirk filinin goz goze gelisini.. filmin ilk yarisinda esegin aslinda 'ilk aski' daha sonra da 'isa' yi sembolize ettigini farkettim. son sahnesi gercekten sinemanin doruk noktasi.
Rated 22 Apr 2010
89
96th
Transcendent filmmaking.
Rated 04 Mar 2010
89
95th
Stunning. I need to watch this again!
Rated 26 Feb 2010
95
84th
Within the subdued tones that pervade both the visuals and storytelling within Au Hasard Balthazar, there is a stunningly powerful collection of human movements. The brutality of man, and the brutality of life, is revealed starkly and with astounding precision in the simplest fashion. That Bresson could engage his audience with such an incredibly in-depth subject by utilizing pure simplicity in nearly all facets of this work reveal the genius of a director with no true equal.
Rated 15 Jan 2010
70
56th
While I do respect this film and the director for what it has achieved in the world of cinema I feel it's a bit too steeped in religious symbolism. The basic philosophical and emotional ruminations of the film are interesting enough without relying on biblical references as a crutch.
Rated 13 Jan 2010
97
94th
60
Rated 23 Jan 2011
90
95th
Anne Wiazemsky is simply haunting here, acting or no acting.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
75
83rd
I'll admit I found it difficult to grasp at times and that soured my enjoyment of the film a bit. Still, I find myself thinking about Au hasard Balthazar hours and days after watching it. It's a simple, heartbreaking glimpse of base humanity. And in that regard it is very effective, even if the pace was somewhat straining. Also, "I love money. I hate death" is a top-10 kind of line.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
97
94th
61
Rated 15 Aug 2008
88
81st
Well-shot and emotionally involving for the most part, I otherwise had a hard time relating to the movie and found the story detached and uninteresting at times. Overall still very good and natural.
Rated 07 May 2008
85
89th
Difficult to watch, but its images and topics are too beautiful to pass on.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
97
95th
# 60
Rated 26 Jun 2007
100
90th
My favorite film of all time.
Rated 17 Apr 2007
95
96th
# 50
Rated 03 Dec 2014
100
99th
(2nd watch, 1st: 85)
Rated 10 Feb 2011
95
87th
Heartbreaking.
Rated 11 Apr 2011
81
83rd
The film's morbid existential perspective and religious symbolism transcend the challenging pacing and (purposefully) listless acting, and we end up with a multi-faceted, unconventional, and complex picture with a potentially alienating structure but familiar, but not unwelcome, existential musings. The ending refuses to fall begrudgingly into "sappy" territory but instead presents itself with considerable dignity, amplifying the overall effectiveness of the film.
Rated 12 Apr 2011
80
81st
watched: 2011, 2020
Rated 07 Jul 2011
70
69th
His style is so intriguing - I feel like the film I will unravel it self the more you see it. Every second is filled with interesting substance unfortunately the plot structure is very similar to L'Argent, which I had already seen, making Balthazar's form a bit too recognisable.
Rated 16 Nov 2011
100
95th
Muhtemelen en sevdigim film.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
97
94th
#60
Rated 26 Mar 2012
70
65th
In terms of film language and style this is great stuff. Story- and character-wise, not so much.
Rated 14 Oct 2012
90
83rd
An incredible film. Without becoming cynical, it acknowledges the incredible depth of selfishness and cruelty in the world, while allowing for dignity, happiness, and love. The understated performances only highlight this more.
Rated 26 Feb 2013
100
98th
The divine grace can show itself to you in ways you don't expect.
Rated 07 Mar 2013
78
44th
Aklımıza gelen her entel yonetmenin esinlendigi adamın en onemli filmi bu filmi izleyince simdi cekilmis filmlerin birer tekrar oldugunu görmek can sıkıyor gerçekten
Rated 13 Jun 2013
92
96th
So simple, so threadbare, but Bresson's style somehow makes you keep on hanging on, and damn does it work in the end. Profound and depressing.
Rated 25 Nov 2013
75
94th
"A sigh, a silence, a word, a sentence, a din, a hand, the whole of your model, his face, in repose, in movement, in profile, full face, an immense view, a restricted space. . . . Each thing exactly in its place: your only resources." —Notes sur le cinematographe.
Rated 21 Jan 2014
6
83rd
a gorgeously touching story of a donkey, which pits lack of emotion on the faces of the characters against the lonely life of the animal. despite this, some of the drama surrounding the whole thing didn't convince me that much, particularly that involving the biker gang and the killer.
Rated 05 Feb 2014
90
80th
This is literally a movie about a donkey, one of the most boring and plain animals on the planet, yet it packs one hell of an emotional punch. A surprisingly effective and utterly moving classic.
Rated 07 Oct 2014
100
99th
Şu filme düşük puan verenin ...... :)

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