For a film with an animal protagonist, Robert Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar” says a lot about humanity. Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour (“A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night”) argues that the film’s central idea lends a timeless honesty, one that resonates half a century later.
Following the respective journeys of young Marie and her donkey Balthazar, the film shows how the two face hardships of different kinds as they grow older. In true Bressonian fashion, those various abuses are tempered with quiet, graceful moments of beauty. The result is a portrait of lost innocence that’s also a work of great empathy.
As part of our ongoing series of filmmaker conversations, presented in partnership with Filmstruck, Amirpour spoke with us about seeing “Au Hasard Balthazar” during a part of her life when the film felt especially vital.
“Au hasard Balthazar” is just one of a half-dozen Bresson titles on FilmStruck, where you can also find “A Man Escaped,” “Mouchette,” and “Pickpocket.”
“Movies That Inspire Me,” which features conversations with Sundance Film Festival directors about their favorite FilmStruck titles from the Turner Classic Movies and Criterion Collection, will continue throughout December here on IndieWire.