Movie Night with Paul Schrader: PICKPOCKET

Movie Night with Paul Schrader: PICKPOCKET

Directed by: Robert Bresson

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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35mm print

We’re thrilled to welcome celebrated filmmaker Paul Schrader in person to screen and discuss one of his personal favorites—Robert Bresson’s 1959 classic PICKPOCKET. Schrader will take part in an onstage discussion about Bresson’s film and its influence upon his own work.

PICKPOCKET, Bresson’s (A Man Escaped, The Diary of a Country Priest, Au Hasard Balthasar) fifth feature, and first from an original screenplay by the director, stars Martin LaSalle as Michel, a young pickpocket who works the streets and trains of Paris. Of the film, Schrader has said, “I adore PICKPOCKET and can watch it endlessly. To me it’s as close to perfect as there can be. It’s a rather short piece about a moral investigator in the form of a policeman and a young man who thinks he is somehow above the law. Well, he isn’t. But there is a girl, and she is an element of grace which comes into his life.” Schrader has also spoken of how influential the film is to his own work: “[Bresson] taught me I could make films about unlikeable people—I could take an outcast, a lonely man, a guy who lives an interior life, and say, ‘Let’s walk in his shoes.’ PICKPOCKET gave me the courage to write Taxi Driver, and from that point on I have never had a problem with characters that appear beyond empathy. I’ve made films about a wannabe assassin, a gigolo, a drug dealer and a guy who’s totally into home porn.”

NR, 75 Minutes, In French with English subtitles
France, 1959


"One of [Bresson's] greatest and purest films, full of hushed transgression and sudden grace."
- Dave Kehr,


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