Daily Archives: November 4, 2020

Pickpocket (1959)

My first entry in my first ever observance of Noirvember is Robert Bresson’s 1959 film Pickpocket, a very loose adaptation of Dostoevsky’s great realist novel Crime and Punishment. Marika Green (Jeanne) plays a vulnerable yet wooden romantic foil in the same vein as Sonia Marmaladov to Rodya Raskolnikov.For me, the affectless acting style of lead Martin LaSalle, et al, minimizes our focus on vocal performance even as it encourages greater attention to figure movement and editing. The sequences detailing Michel’s sleight of hand are particularly engaging in this respect.

Here is an illuminating discussion by David Bordwell of Bresson’s use of constructive editing in Pickpocket.