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One of the key works of the modern cinema, Robert Bresson’s legendary film loosely adapts Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment in its captivating story of a young Parisian thief who believes himself above the moral constraints of common humanity.
Voted the greatest postwar French film by Cahiers du Cinéma, called one of the four "germinal films of the modern cinema" (René Prédal) and "one of the four or five great dates in the history of cinema" (Louis Malle), Pickpocket has exerted an immense and enduring influence on countless directors, as disparate as Martin Scorsese, Chantal Akerman, and Jacques Demy, who saw the film many times. (Paul Schrader called it "an unmitigated masterpiece" and lifted its ending at least twice in his own films.) Loosely based on Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, Bresson's terse, intense portrait of a compulsive pickpocket 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 Cocteau called them, are stunningly choreographed and edited. "A film of dazzling originality. On its first viewing, it risks burning your eyes. So, do like me. Go back to see it every day" (Louis Malle).