Pickpocket (1959)

6593f-pickpocketposterThis French film directed by Robert Bresson, begins with voice-over narration of a man recalling his past. Michel is a nondescript person who was down on his luck. Then, one day he ineptly tried his hand at pick pocketing and was caught. He got off and over time he sharpened his skills and teamed up with two other men. They successfully bring in a great deal and it becomes Michel’s livelihood. At the same time Michel’s mother is becoming ill and he meets a young neighbor named Jeanne. Michel’s best friend is falling for this girl while Michel himself is continually tempted to steal. This leads to a little trouble from a police inspector and yet he stays out of jail.

However, after further discussion with the chief and Jeanne, Michel leaves Paris. He returns later still impoverished, to find Jeanne with a child but unmarried. He resolves to support her and yet after trying to work, he reverts back to his past vice. This time his guard is down and he winds up in jail. Jeanne comes to visit him a great deal and through this devotion he realizes they both are in love with each other.

This film has simple but intriguing topic. Sometimes the pick pocketing scenes are shown almost as a choreographed dance which is done so fluidly. Overall Pickpocket has a striking resemblance to Doestoevsky’s Crime and Punishment but it reflects the wonderful simplicity of Robert Bresson’s realistic style. Is it just me or does Marika Green look like Natalie Portman in black and white. I certainly think so.

4.5/5 Stars

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