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Now through Tuesday, October 17


Directed by Robert Bresson
Starring Anne Wiazemsky

(1966) A little donkey is suckled by its mother, then baptized “Balthazar;” a girl and boy say goodbye at the end of summer: a vision of paradise. Years pass and the now-teenaged Marie (Anne Wiazemsky, later Godard’s wife and star, and today a celebrated author) finds herself drifting into more and more destructive situations, including involvement with a local juvenile delinquent; while Balthazar moves from owner to owner, some kind, some cruel, some drunkenly careless. But as critic J. Hoberman pointed out, “this is the story of a donkey in somewhat the way that Moby Dick is about a whale.” God, as ever in the work of legendary filmmaker Bresson, is in the details: the elliptical editing, with its abrupt cuts, off-screen space, and as much focus on the hands of the non-pro cast as on their faces; sound design alternating between classical music and natural sounds; the accumulation of cruelties endured by Marie and Balthazar; and the religious symbolism, from baptism to martyrdom – with the silent Balthazar transformed into a patient, long-suffering saint (“the most sublime cinematic passage I know.” – Hoberman). In a body of work known for its purity and transcendence, Balthazar is perhaps the most wrenching of Bresson’s visions, voted 19 in the 2002 BFI Sight & Sound critics and filmmakers poll of all-time great films. 35mm. Approx. 95 min. A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE

Anne Wiazemsky (1947 - 2017) was born in Berlin, the granddaughter of French writer François Mauriac. She made her film debut in 1966 at the age of 18 in Robert Bresson’s celebrated Au Hasard Balthazar. She went to appear in the films of other great auteurs like Pier Paolo Pasolini (Teorama, Pigsty), André Téchiné (Rendez-vous), and, most importantly, her ex-husband Jean-Luc Godard, for whom she appeared in multiple films, including La Chinoise, Week End, One + One, and Tout Va Bien. Though she acted in her final film in the late ‘80s, she became a celebrated writer of novels like Canines, Hymnes à l’Amour, and Une Poignée de Gens, as well as screenplays, including that for the Claire Denis telefilm U.S. Go Home. Canines was awarded the prestigious Prix Goncourt des Lycéens; her memoir about her life with Jean-Luc Godard, Un An après, is the basis for the upcoming film Redoubtable


“Bresson’s greatest film and one of the masterpieces of the 20th century.”
– Molly Haskell

“Transforms the death of a donkey into the most tragic and sublime cinematic passage I know. Bresson’s supreme masterpiece.”
– J. Hoberman, Village Voice

“Absolutely magnificent… one of the most significant events of the cinema.”
– Jean-Luc Godard

“Extraordinary sensuality… it stands by itself.”
– Andrew Sarris