AU HASARD BALTHAZAR (1966)
A film by Robert Bresson
Cast: Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge
The film follows the life of a donkey from birth to death, while all the time living it the dignity of being itself–a dumb beast, noble in its acceptance of a life over which it has no control. We first see Balthazar as a newborn, taking its first unsteady steps, three children are baptizing the donkey. Here is what the church teaches us there a place in heaven for human but what Bresson is telling us there are a heaven for all god’s creature .Balthazar’s early life is lived on a farm in a small village in France, the donkey will be owned many of the locals, and return to some of them more than once. Some of them are good, but all of them are flawed, although there is a local drunk who doe not mean to be mean to the donkey.
Balthazar’s first owner is Marie (Anne Wiazemsky), who gives him his name. Her father is the local schoolmaster, and her friend is Jacques (Walter Green), who agrees with her that they will marry someday. Jacques’ mother dies, and his father who is sad with grief leaves the village, entrusting his farm to Marie’s father (Philippe Asselin), in whom he has perfect trust. Here is the thing there is two parallel of the story. Balthazar is born and like us human we are nurtured by our mother so his Balthazar with Marie. The he becomes an adult and must work sometimes different owner some are nice other abuse their power, I know a few bosses that do that. Then he becomes a genius, and it comes than end like us human he dies. The other parallel is that the donkey has several owner some nice, some will abuse him by miss treating him. The donkey can’t speak so you see the regard is has on his face when he eats he is happy when mistreated, he is unhappy, he snows he is cold that is how he communicate.
Breton’s film makes us think it does not frighted makes us cry, to laugh. Bresson did 20 to 50 takes each time to take the acting out of the actor so they can deliver their line emotionlessly like a bunch of zombie but not really. It would have driving Robert Deniro crazy. Every shot is framed and held, and frequently it begins before the characters enter the scene and continues after they leave. Bresson did things way differently then any other director here. Bresson suggests that we are all Balthazars. Think about it here we have no control over our destiny we think we do but we don’t. Despite our dreams, hopes and best plans, the world will eventually do with us whatever it does. Despite our dreams, hopes and coolest plans, the world will eventually do with us whatever it does. But intelligence gives us the ability to make our own fate and to attempt to control it. But the donkey has no control of his fate or his life The owner does. Here is greatness with this film that Bresson directed beautifully well.