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Criterion Release: Pickpocket

July 29, 2014

Pickpocket Criterion Blu-ray

Two weeks ago, the 1959 film Pickpocket was released on Blu-ray through the Criterion Collection.  Directed by Robert Bresson, this is a quiet character study of Michel (Martin LaSalle), a lonely writer who spends his days compulsively snatching wallets throughout Paris, leading to chance encounters with Jeanne (Marika Green), a beautiful young woman who might just provide his redemption.

With clever camerawork during the scenes of pickpocketing, including a fascinating extended sequence at the train station, this is an interesting little film that is often credited as influencing the ensuing French New Wave.  Filled with existential undertones that bring deeper meaning to the low key story, Pickpocket comes recommended, especially for film students and cinephiles.

The Blu-ray includes commentary with film scholar James Quandt, an intro by writer/director Paul Schrader, Babette Mangolte’s 2003 documentary The Models of Pickpocket, an archival interview with Robert Bresson and more.  Also in the package is an essay by novelist Gary Indiana.

Pickpocket is 76 minutes and unrated.

-John Corrado

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