Au Hasard Balthazar

Drama | French with English subtitles | 95 minutes

Info
On a French farm near the Pyrenees, a donkey is born and adopted by Jacques and Marie, his sweetheart. They baptize the donkey and christen it Balthazar. When one of Jacques’ sisters dies, the family vacates their farm and gives Balthazar to the local farmhands. Balthazar is abused as he passes from one brutal owner to another. The worst is Gérard, a leader of a criminal gang and the delivery boy at the bakery that owns Balthazar. During the night Gérard abducts Balthazar hoping to use him to carry contraband over the Spanish border. The crime is discovered by customs guards. Balthazar is shot. But he has one last moment to finally find empathy and kindness.   
Cast
Anne Wiazemsky (Marie) / Walter Green (Jacques)
Why Stream This Film?
 Film critic Roger Ebert said it best, concluding his review with the following: “Now here is the essential part. Bresson suggests that we are all Balthazars. Despite our dreams, hopes and best plans, the world will eventually do with us whatever it does. Because we can think and reason, we believe we can figure a way out, find a solution, get an answer. But intelligence gives us the ability to comprehend our fate without the power to control it. Still, Bresson does not leave us empty-handed. He offers us the suggestion of empathy. If we extend ourselves to sympathize with how others feel, we can find the consolation of sharing human experience, instead of the loneliness of enduring it alone.”    
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
  • Metacritic Score: 98
Accolades
  • Cahiers du Cinéma: Winner, Best Film
  • Venice Film Festival: Nominated, Golden Lion; Winner, New Cinema Award (Robert Bresson)
  • Au Hasard Balthazar received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score.
Robert Bresson is one of the saints of the cinema and AU HASARD BALTHAZAR is his most heartbreaking prayer.
Roger Ebert

RogerEbert.com

AU HASARD BALTHAZAR is lightened by the speed and precision of Bresson’s art; he could derive more from one pair of hands than most directors can from two hours of blood and guts.
Anthony Lane

The New Yorker

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