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Michel takes up picking pockets as a hobby, and is arrested almost immediately, giving him the chance to reflect on the morality of crime. After his release, though, his mother dies, and he rejects the support of friends Jeanne and Jacques in favour of returning to pickpocketing (after taking lessons from an expert), because he realises that it's the only way he can express himself...Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Deliberately unconventional approach to filmmaking with great results
Pickpocket is a film that apparently has serious flaws- from the very beginning it displays little to no emotion as the actors on screen just say their lines and the camera just follows them from a distance, with no close-ups or any other tricks.
But what is unique about this film is that this very criticism is actually a deliberate attempt to cause uneasiness in the viewer. And it succeeds- the anxiety, as felt by the pickpocket in his everyday living, is also transmitted to us. So, to correct my previous statement: this movie does not lack emotions- it has emotions: anxiety, uncertainty, but these are delivered in an unconventional manner.
From a personal standpoint, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. It is hard to appreciate this dimension of the film at first. But after seeing some extras from the excellent Criterion package, I was able to understand better. How Bresson actually committed to cause these emotions in the viewer, how he re-shot several times various scenes until the actors just repeated their lines, until no trait of emotions were left. Michel's narration voice-over is flat, plain. These were non-professional actors set to work in a non-standard way, Bresson's way. And the result is this: a film somewhat off-putting, but still a great work of art.
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