Fort Augustus
Au hasard Balthazar

Robert Bresson, France, 1966, 95 mins, Cert PG

Screening at: Fort Augustus, Mon 3rd August 9pm   |   Nairn, Sat 8th August 5pm

Still from the movieOne wee donkey on its journey through life. It has seven owners, most of whom are cruel. Thank goodness, then, for Marie (the great Anne Wiazemsky) in all her tenderness.

In this film, the world is hard and clanging. Grace and release from suffering are rare. Master director Robert Bresson pared down all expression – few films are less lush – so what we end up with is a fable or a fresco. “Everyone who sees this film will be absolutely astonished,” said the great French director Jean-Luc Godard, “because this film is really the world in an hour and a half.” Bresson seldom used music, but Schubert’s piano sonata turns the wee donkey into something like a saint. Christians will think of Palm Sunday, perhaps, and art lovers might be reminded of the rigorous glories of Fra Angelico or Cimabue. For many movie lovers, this is one of the best films ever made, a sombre threnody, and a great work of art.

In the UK, the movie got a PG certificate, so it’s fine for kids, though Balthazar’s life is achingly sad.

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