Director: Robert Bresson
The donkey, always regarded as an important creature of nature, is the central figure of this film. One is adopted as a pet and christened Balthazar by childhood sweethearts Marie and Jacques, in a small French town. The life of this donkey parallels the ages of man: adored childhood, the harsh awakening to adulthood, success, and the mystery of death.
With the eyes of a judge, Balthazar passes through groups of people, each representing a vice, as avarice, ignorance, laziness, and his life intermingles with the story of Marie, whose tragic experiences reinforce the drama.
Bresson's first film in three years hovers outside of time, and carries echoes of a simple Christian parable. But the film is more than symbolic: it has layers of meaning that are expressed purely in visual ways. The value of this demanding work of art lies in the veiled, but disenchanted eye which Bresson turns on the price of progress in this mechanical age.
O.C.I.C. Grand Prix; Cinema Nuovo Prizem, St. Giorgio Prize, Venice Festival.
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