Still from Pickpocket


classified PG S

Please note: This was screened in June 2022

Robert Bresson
Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Jean Pélégri
76 mins, Subtitled, 1959, France
Primary language

A carefully observed character study that packs an emotional punch, from the inimitable French director, Robert Bresson.

Michel (Martin La Salle) is a young pickpocket who spends his days learning his craft by working the streets, subway cars and train stations of Paris. As his compulsive pursuit of the thrill of stealing grows however, so does his fear that his luck is about to run out and sure enough, he is promptly arrested. When his ailing motherdies, despite the objections of his only friend, Jacques (Pierre Leymarie) and his mother's neighbour Jeanne (Marika Green), Michel returns to his old ways, teaming up with a couple of petty thieves to perfect his craft.

As a result, Michel is doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again, consumed by the irresistibly intense compulsion to steal with no place to go but down. But everyone deserves a second chance don't they? However, can there be forgiveness without repentance?

An elegantly crafted study of humanity in all its mischief and grace, this incomparable story of crime and redemption has been cited as the artistic influence behind Paul Schrader's screenplays for Taxi Driver and American Gigolo.