A somewhat enigmatic feature from French auteur Robert Bresson (Au hasard Balthazar, Mouchette), Pickpocket is a choreographed, self justifying ‘necessity’ as Michel (Martin Lasalle – Missing, Las puertas del paraíso) dips hands into pockets, unclips wristwatches from wearers.

Watched by the police he may be, the result of his first foray into picking pockets, but Michel continues to take risks, teaming up with others to be more effective. As he evades arrest, so Jeanne (Marika Green – La croix des vivants, Emmanuelle), neighbour to his ailing mother, becomes of romantic interest.

Dostoevskyian in its emotionless coldness along with more than a nod towards Camus’ view of the futility for the search of meaning, Pickpocket is minimalist in its depiction of character and the human condition. But the editing is quite extraordinary (so much so it was banned in many countries!).

Rating: 62%

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