Robert Bresson was the subject of a major touring retrospective organized by the Cinematheque Ontario in 1999; virtually all the LACMA screenings were sold out which made LACMA the best attended venue out of a dozen US stops, which pleased Bresson when he was informed of this fact by curator James Quandt! Pickpocket, made three years after the classic A Man Escaped, was the shortest, most concentrated film that Bresson had directed up to that time, and it exerted a profound influence on directors worldwide. A chronicle of the day to day activities of Michel, an introverted academic who picks pockets not for the money but as a route to human contact, Pickpocket intercuts close-ups of Michel’s impassive face with extended sequences of professionals at the top of their game: on the Paris metro, at the racetrack, in a ticket line, crossing a busy street. As billfolds slip from pocket to hand to newspaper to sewer grate at lightning speed, Bresson’s flights of virtuosic editing generate an adrenalin rush and an edge-of-the-seat-tension equal to the best action cinema. One of the few Bresson titles in U.S. distribution (a restored print of Diary of a Country Priest had a weekend run at LACMA this past April) Pickpocket also screened in a 2002 tribute to the fiftieth anniversary of Cahiers du cinéma.
Bing Theater | $10 general admission. $7 museum members, seniors (62+), students with valid ID | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.