Monday, September 22, 2008


In the film Pickpocket by Robert Bresson, we focus on the main character of Michel. Michel is recently out of jail for pickpocketing, which is his hobby at the time, and goes to visit his mother who dies. He then needs to start to pick pockets as a way to survive. We see him meet some men who know how to pick pockets, and he learns some things from them.

He is at the race track and goes into a woman's purse, and also takes men's wallets. He becomes so good at his craft that he is able to pickpocket wallets on the subway. His good friends can see that he is headed down a bad path and they try to help him, but the thrill he gets from pickpocketing is too good, and so he would rather live a dishonest life than have his friends help him out.

The camera work and editing in the film are fabulous. we see several close up of Michel's hands as he goes about his pickpocketing. A particular scene is where he is practicing his pickpocketing with the man who is teaching him how to do it better. The hands move so fast, you have to pay close attention to see what all is happening.

Also, several times throughout the film, one sees a low camera angle, focused on Michel's feet as he is walking, and all you hear are the clacking noises of his shoes. A particular time this stands out to me is when he is waiting in the bank, looking for the next person to make his victim. All you hear are the hurried footsteps of Michel which is better than any musical piece Bresson could have put in there. The hurried footsteps, seem to match the quickening of Michel's heartbeat, and his adrenaline begins to surge. As the footsteps quicken, you can't help but hold your breath, or move to the edge of your seat in anticipation.

One cannot help but like this movie. While the moral of the story may not be the best, it is very entertaining. And when Michel is caught, while you feel bad for him, you also feel a sense of triumph that goodness has prevailed.

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