Sunday, June 25, 2006

PICK-POCKET

In Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and punishment, the protagonist proclaims that the "superior human beings", the "geniuses" can act outside the boundaries of moral life. And that whatever "crime" that they do ultimately leads to the upliftment/benefit of the society. The protagonist, Raskolnikov goes ahead and commits a crime, a twin murder, to feel true to himself and his ideology.

Robert Bresson's fantastic movie, "Pick Pocket" is said to be inspired by Dostoyevsky's novel. But here the protagonist Michel indulges in pick-pocketing rather than murder. Raskolnikov does one crime and then spends rest of his life(till he is caught) contemplating, suffering from what he did. Here Michel grows in confidence, learns new skills, and finds himself part of a brilliant team of skilled pick-pocketer's, who run amok among the streets and Metros of Paris. But soon their luck runs out.

The movie is one of the most beautiful that I came along among the ones screened by Collective Chaos. The guilt, the self-destructiveness, the inferiority complex which he tries to mask with his superior person theory, all are portrayed so beautifully. And like Crime and Punishment's Porfiry, there is a police inspector here too who suspects Michel, and uses psychological methods to make him confess, take his just punishment and get reformed. And like Sonia there is the beautiful Jeanne, who is fond of Michel, and the love and wanting for whom is Michel's final suffering and his redemption.

The skills of Michel an his friends are shot so beautifully. There is the scene in which they get into a train, keep picking passengers, exchanging the wallets between them, and finally replacing the empty purses to where they belonged. While returning home, in a crowded bus, I also got that tickling sensation, trembling of hands... I controlled!. It was that kind of a movie, a joy to watch. I should confess here that reading Crime and Punishment was hardly a joyous experience, it was full of tension. I got ill after I completed the novel... :)

Robert Breeson says,"My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected onto a screen, come to life again like flowers on water". Another must watch.

1 comments:

Arjun Ramakrishnan said...

feel like watching pick-pocket... from what you write, I think I will like it.