Au hasard Balthazar
Film screening and discussion with philosopher and ethologist Vinciane Despret (University of Liège, Belgium). Part of the "Europe in Four Themes: Animals" series organized in collaboration with the Getty Center and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
Friday, February 23, 20187:30 PM
Billy Wilder Theater (Courtyard Level, Hammer Museum)
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Au hasard Balthazar (France, 1966)
The inextricably intertwined lives of Marie (Anne Wiazemsky), a farmer’s daughter, and Balthazar, the donkey she befriends when a child, are at the center of Robert Bresson’s austere masterpiece of human cruelty, suffering and compassion. Marie and Balthazar share tormentors in their provincial village, including Gérard (François Lafarge), the local gang leader, whose brutish treatment of both, and their resignation to it, drives the film’s episodic narrative with unremitting fate. Saintliness and transcendence are ever present themes in Bresson’s modernist parable, while the powerful, emotional pull of Balthazar’s presence on screen raises intriguing questions about the nature of animal “performance,” particularly within the context Bresson’s famous use of non-actors.
35mm, b/w, in French with English subtitles, 95 min. Director: Robert Bresson. Producer: Mag Bodard. Screenwriter: Robert Bresson. Cinematographer: Ghislain Cloquet. Editor: Raymond Lamy. Cast: Anne Wiazemsky, Walter Green, François Lafarge, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Philippe Asselin.
Purchase tickets for this screening here.
In collaboration with the Getty Center, UCLA Film & Television Archive and the UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies have partnered this year to present a quarterly, interdisciplinary festival of film and music that explores European culture, politics and society through the prism of four themes: Animals, Food, Music and Architecture/Landscape. Every calendar, the Archive will a devote a weekend of screenings to films by European and Russian filmmakers that explore these themes in compelling ways. A noted expert in a related field of study will be invited to respond during post-screening conversations.
We launch this initiative February 23-25, 2018 with three films centered around animals: Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar (France, 1966), Kornél Mundruczó’s White God (Hungary/Germany/Sweden, 2014) and Vladimir Bortko’s Heart of a Dog (Soviet Union, 1988). Philosopher and ethologist Vinciane Despret, professor at the University of Liège, Belgium, will join us at each screening to discuss the films. A leading voice in the emerging field of scientific humanities, Despret, in her latest book, What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions? (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), challenges with humor and insight the received scientific and anecdotal wisdom about animal behavior and agency.
These screenings take place in conjunction with a lecture-concert at the Getty Center on Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m., featuring a presentation by Laure Murat and performances of works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Fauré, Rameau, Rossini, Cage, Gershwin, and others. The program also features the first U.S. appearance of Vincent Penot, clarinetist of the Opéra de Paris, who performs three pieces on the program. For more information and ticketing, please click here.
Sponsor(s): Center for European and Russian Studies, Hammer Museum at UCLA, Film and Television Archive