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Pickpocket [DVD] [1959]

Martin La Salle , Marika Green , Robert Bresson    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: £12.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Pickpocket [DVD] [1959] + A Man Escaped [DVD] + Au Hasard Balthazar [DVD] [1966]
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Product details

  • Actors: Martin La Salle, Marika Green, Pierre Leymarie, Jean Pélégri, Kassagi
  • Directors: Robert Bresson
  • Format: PAL, Subtitled, Full Screen, Colour, Mono
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 25 April 2005
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007OC700
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,376 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

2 Disc Special Edition Inspired by Dostoevsky's 'Crime and Punishment', Robert Bresson s Pickpocket tells the story of Michel (Martin Lasalle), a solitary young man who embarks upon a life of petty theft. Plying his trade on the city streets, racetracks and Métro system of Paris, Michel hones his sleight-of-hand skills to perfection and becomes consumed by his escalating addiction. But his activities alienate him from his few friends, while attracting the attention of a police inspector and a professional criminal (Kassagi), who recruits him into his band of thieves. Bresson's use of non-professional actors, pared-down cinematic style and meticulously choreographed scenes of audacious robberies lend the film a remarkable and thrilling sense of authenticity. Emotionally restrained yet ultimately spiritually moving, many critics consider Pickpocket to be Bresson's masterpiece. Special Features: Interview with Robert Bresson; The Models of Pickpocket - interviews with Martin Lassalle, Marika Green and Pierre Leymarie; Around Pickpocket - discussion with Marika Green, Jean-Pierre Améris and Paul Vecchiali; Kassagi cabaret performance; Trailer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime and Punishment, Bresson style 15 July 2006
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Looking like a French movie but sounding like Russian literature with all the furniture cataloguing removed, Pickpocket is from the days when Bresson still drew more naturalistic performances from his non-professional casts rather than turning them into stilted and self-conscious mannequins (although Marika Green falls into the latter category, always looking at her feet as if her lines were written on her shoes in classic Bresson automaton mode), and combines the sleek look of a studio policier with a pared down moral debate from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, with theft replacing murder.

Unlike Bresson's more obviously spiritual films (A Man Escaped, Au Hasard Balthazar, Diary of a Country Priest), there's no religious quest here: instead, there's a determinedly atheistic one, with Martin LaSalle's would-be Prince of Pickpockets pursuing an ideal of intellectual elitism as justification for crime against society's morality, failing to realise that he's just another of the thousands of petty egotist in the criminal little leagues. He simply has the ability to articulate his own notions of superiority, completely unaware that he probably works harder at his criminal skills than he would ever do at a proper job.

It's also possibly Bresson's most overtly cinematic work despite the underplaying of the dialog scenes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterstroke in understatement. 12 Feb 2008
Format:DVD
Robert Bresson's quiet, understated tales can take a little getting used to. Don't expect any loud explosions, character development, or in some of his cases, any kind of closure at all. A leap of faith is needed, and ultimately rewarded, and 'Pickpocket' remains one of the French master's finest films.

A young man named Michel (Martin Lasalle) becomes disaffected with life and embarks upon a pickpocketing crime spree. After several botched attempts, he hones his skills to perfection, performing several wallet heists so audacious, they would have the artful dodger green eyed with envy. But soon he attracts the eye of not only the law, but a local crime syndicate as well, and the prison bars are hovering too close for comfort.

Pickpocket's true masterstroke is how Michel becomes almost sociopathic in his ventures. By the end, stealing for the thrill instead of financial gain, he seemingly invites the police to come and find him. And the scenes of pickpocketing are truly breathtaking. Michel may be a criminal, but you'll be behind him all the way, desperate for him to not get caught. His canny, virtuoso techniques will have you on the edge of your seat, putting all of Hollywood's derivative action movies to shame.
And by the end, his nimble fingers can do no more good, and a woman's love may be his only salvation.

Received rather poorly in its heyday, Pickpocket stands the test of time with distinction. At only 73 minutes, this absolutely flies by, leaving you desperate for more. And Bresson, ever the master, refuses to let the proceedings get bogged down with sentimentality. Truly one of the greatest films i've ever seen, and you should see it too.

The extras are ace as well. A wonderful 5 minute interview with Bresson sees him answer difficult questions with an intelligence clearly years ahead of his time. Plus tons of retrospective interviews with the original cast and various perspectives on the film itself. Absolute gold.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime 14 Nov 2005
Format:DVD
I don't have time to write a considered review. But the gist would be this: If you've seen Bresson before and been taken by his genius then get this without pause. If someone's recommended Bresson and you're toying with parting with some cash, then prepare yourself to embark on a wonderful journey. Only watch when wide awake and unlikely to be disturbed. The extras on this DVD are exceptionally good.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Bresson, great extras. 6 Oct 2006
By Alan Pavelin VINE VOICE
Format:DVD
For someone familiar with this film, the most fascinating aspect of this 2-disk DVD is the "extras", particularly an interview with the reclusive Bresson and a 52-minute documentary, The Models of Pickpocket, consisting of recent interviews with three of the leading actors.

First, Pickpocket itself. Made in 1959, a commercial and critical failure at the time, it is now considered to be among the two or three greatest and most seminal films of the French master. It was loosely inspired by Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment whose central character regards himself as a superior moral being who, unlike the common herd of people, is entitled to rob and murder. In Pickpocket, the young man Michel feels a compulsion, almost a divine obligation, to become an expert pickpocket, not for the material gain but simply for its own sake. He is shadowed and eventually trapped by a police inspector, and only when he is in prison does he realise that his true vocation was to be with the young woman who loved him, Jeanne. These other two characters have their counterparts in Crime and Punishment.

Like the director's 1950 film Diary of a Country Priest, Pickpocket takes the form of a diary, presumably being written in prison. We hear Michel's voice describing what happened, sometimes preceded by his writing it on squared notepaper, and then we see the scene in question. Strictly speaking, therefore, what we are seeing is not the actual events, but the events as recalled later by Michel. Perhaps this helps to justify Bresson's highly elliptical method of showing only what he considers essential, and of galloping through long sections of the story in literally seconds.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bresson = gOD of the French classic cinema.
When i first saw his films Mouchette, A Hasard Balthazar & A Man Escaped i immediately came to the conclusion that Bresson is unique so there is no one else in the French cinema or... Read more
Published 2 months ago by sunrisespacelab
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd Avant Garde Film that Won't Be to Everyone's Taste
PICKPOCKET, (1959). This stylized film, a 75 minute black and white crime drama, follows a Parisian pickpocket named Michel, who develops a compulsion to steal, at which is he... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars Do You Think We'll Be Judged?
So questions Martin Lasalle's Michel of Marika Green's Jeanne as he contemplates the potential spiritual consequences of his criminal obsession in Robert Bresson's masterly human... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Keith M
4.0 out of 5 stars Korean release...
This is not essentially a review of the film, which others have done fairly comprehensively.

It's about the Korean release that I bought new from an 'auction-style'... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Tim Kidner
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor acting,utter tedium
Typical french exercise in trying to elevate criminality into an intellectual pursuit on a higher plane,or the mantel of an ambivalent protagonist's sheen of ultra-cool. Read more
Published on 6 Nov 2010 by L. GERRARD
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece
The film is spare, secular, discreet, humane, and the best review I've read is of J.Hoberman of Village Voice': There's something almost medieval about it. Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2010 by H. P. M. Tak
2.0 out of 5 stars Unengaging, if that's a real word.
There's two ways to look at this. It's either a masterclass in understatement, or simply unimaginative beyond belief. Read more
Published on 31 Mar 2009 by SL-N/1973
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover Bresson for yourself
Anyone who has enjoyed another Bresson film is likely to enjoy this too. It creates a similar tension to "A Man Escaped" - from totally different subject matter. Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2009 by W. Hamilton
4.0 out of 5 stars "I was walking on air, with the world at my feet."
"Pickpocket" (1959), directed by Robert Bresson, is inspired in a novel written by Dostoievsky, "Crime and punishment". Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2007 by M. B. Alcat
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic Bresson
Quite absorbing character study focusing on one man's addiction to petty crime.The film follows him from his early forays into pickpocketing to a level of skill that consumes him... Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2007 by Mark Pearce
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