PICKPOCKET, 1959, 75 min. Loosely based on Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, Bresson’s terse, intense portrait of a compulsive pickpocket (Martin LaSalle) who believes himself above the moral constraints of common humanity turns the act of thievery into a ritual at once erotic and aesthetic. The “ballets of thievery,” as Jean Cocteau called them, are stunningly choreographed and edited. In French with English subtitles.
L’ARGENT, 1983, 85 min. Transposing a Tolstoy novella to a contemporary Paris composed of Vermeer-like visuals, Bresson turns his last film into a terse and chilling indictment of capitalism and modernity. A young man (Christian Patey) unwittingly passes a counterfeit bill, his crime setting off an “avalanche of evil” that leads to mass murder and, finally, to expiation. In French with English subtitles.