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Michel needs money and believes he can steal it from others. He even apprentices himself to an experienced pickpocket. Meanwhile, his mother is seriously ill.

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Deze voorstelling maakt deel uit van Rialto Filmclub met als gastspreker deze maand Ernst-Jan Pfauth.


After seeing this film, the famous American film critic Roger Ebert immediately thought of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. Like its protagonist Raskolnikov, the film's main character needs money to realise his dreams and sees no reason why "dull", ordinary people shouldn't supply it. Bresson himself wrote the story and screenplay for this exposition on morality, which he did in just three months.

Michel is at the horse racecourses in Paris and takes some money from a visitor's purse. Unnoticed, he believes, until he is arrested by the police on his way out, only to be released later due to lack of evidence. His friend Jacques is willing to help him by finding him a job, but picking pockets appeals to him more. He even studies the tricks of the trade with an experienced thief. Meanwhile, his mother is gravely ill and he befriends her neighbour Jeanne. Things are going from bad to worse.

This film is part of the classic series Bresson - un hommage.