1959 | Drama | In French with English subtitles | 75 minutes
Michel’s first taste as a thief occurs at a racetrack. He steals money from a spectator but is caught. The police release him for lack of evidence. Michel is an exceptionally intelligent person who probably could land a well-paying job. However, he opts for the easier life of being a thief. He hooks up with an experienced pickpocketing group and as a team they are very successful. Between jobs, Michel visits his elderly and infirm mother who is being cared for by the caring, lovely neighbor Jeanne. Michel meets Jeanne on one of his visits and they connect. He feels close to her. Michel’s mother dies and he attends the funeral with Jeanne. The police inspector informs Michel that money was stolen from his mother. Michel is the main suspect. He runs off to Milan, Rome, and London, successfully practicing his craft. He returns to Paris to find out that while he was away Jeanne had a baby. Michel’s best friend, Jacques, is the father. Deeply hurt, Michel goes to the race track and pickpockets a wealthy bettor. This time he’s caught red handed and now must serve time in jail. Jeanne visits him. They reach out to each other through the gated barrier. A combination of redemption and love is the road Michel would now like to pursue.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 97%
- Berlin International Film Festival: Nominated, Golden Bear Award for Best Film
Now streaming on:
The nimble crime of the fiercely philosophical outlaw is itself a work of art, which Robert Bresson reveals, in all its varieties, as a furtive street ballet. The movie, above all, affirms the miracle of redemptive love and its price in humility and unconditional surrender.Richard Brody
In this story you may sense echoes of Dostoyevsky’s CRIME and PUNISHMENT, another story about a lonely intellectual who lived in a garret and thought he had a license, denied to common men, to commit crimes. The reasoning is immoral, but the characters claim special privileges above and beyond common morality.Roger Ebert
There is no doubt that Bresson is a great filmmaker, and the PICKPOCKET is one of his masterworks. It is, at base, about self-fulfillment and redemption through love—a common enough idea in films. But this epic has seldom been equaled as a philosophical treatise on the subject.Derek Malcolm
YOU MIGHT ALSO CONSIDER:
In the ruins of post-war Poland, Wiktor and Zula fall deeply in love. Wiktor is a musical director and Zula a singer with a promising future. They both end up in a folk dance ensemble group where their kind of music is severely criticized…read more
Considered by many a Bernardo Bertolucci masterpiece. Working for Mussolini in Rome in 1938, Marcello departs on his honeymoon to Paris. His boss gives him an assignment: while in Paris he is to kill…read more
Harry Caul, the owner of a surveillance company, and his assistant Stan, are hired by a person referred to as The Director, to bug the conversation of a couple, Ann and Mark, as they walk around Union Square in San Francisco…read more
P.O. Box 20038
New York, N.Y. 10075
If you found this site helpful, please recommend it to a friend. We also welcome your comments.