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Au hasard Balthazar
Directed by Robert Bresson
Produced by Mag Bodard
Written by Robert Bresson
Starring Anne Wiazemsky
François Lafarge
Music by Jean Wiener
Cinematography Ghislain Cloquet
Editing by Raymond Lamy
Distributed by Cinema Ventures
Release date(s) 25 May 1966
Running time 95 min.
Language French

Au hasard Balthazar, (French: "chosen-by-lot Balthazar", a.k.a. Balthazar), is a 1966 French film directed by Robert Bresson, starring Anne Wiazemsky.



The film follows Marie (Wiazemsky), a shy farm girl, and her beloved donkey Balthazar, through many years. As Marie grows up the pair become separated, but the film traces both their fates as they continue to live a parallel existence, continually taking abuse of all forms from the people they encounter. The donkey has several owners, all of whom exploit it, some with more kindness than cruelty. In the end, both suffer ignominious fates, often at the hands of the same people. They do differ, though, in that Marie's fate remains unclear, whereas the donkey's is clear.


The film's religious imagery, spiritual allegories and naturalistic, minimalist aesthetic style has been praised by film reviewers.[1] This "brief, elliptical tale about the life and death of a donkey" has "exquisite renderings of pain and abasement" and "compendiums of cruelty" that tell a powerful spiritual message.[2]

The noted filmmaker and Cahiers du Cinema critic Jean-Luc Godard famously said of the film "Everyone who sees this film will be absolutely astonished," "because this film is really the world in an hour and a half."


  • Anne Wiazemsky[3] as Marie
  • François Lafarge as Gerard
  • Philippe Asselin as Marie's father
  • Nathalie Joyaut as Marie's mother
  • Walter Green as Jacques
  • Jean-Claude Guilbert as Arnold
  • Pierre Klossowski as Merchant
  • François Sullerot as Baker
  • Marie-Claire Fremont as Baker's wife
  • Jean Rémignard as Notary


  1. ^ Au Hasard Balthazar - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  2. ^ James Quandt essay, available at:
  3. ^ Joseph Cunneen, "The Donkey as Witness: Au hasard Balthasar" Robert Bresson: A Spiritual Style in Film. New York: Continuum (2003): 108. "Against Bresson's wishes, Ms. Wiazemsky embarked on an acting career after Balthasar, making films with directors like Godard [whom she married] and Pasolini."

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