Robert Bresson's "Pickpocket" January 6, 2012 8:15 PMSubscribe
Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.* This winter and spring, North American viewers get an exceedingly rare opportunity to see Bresson's films projected on the big screen, in a near-complete retrospective that opens this week in New York and will move on to many other cities.