Michel , a petty thief seems to spend the whole of the film setting himself up for the fall, you get the impression that he want's to be caught and punished, he does carry a burden of guilt concerning his mother that is eating at him like a cancer.
After several close calls with the police and people he's tried to rob, he teams up with a skilled pickpocket who teaches him the ropes and together with another partner they carry out their dexterous craft on trains, in banks and on the streets of Paris, this leads to some amazing set pieces as passers by are fleeced of their wallets and cash. He leaves Paris for London when the gang is caught but on his return he is set up by the police and arrested.
In prison he is visited by Jeanne, a neighbour of his mothers who looked after her until she died, she has been abandoned with a baby and he realises that with her, he can change his life.
An excellent character driven drama with stunning setpieces, recommended viewing and one that Im sure you will enjoy even more with repeated viewings.
Released by Artificial Eye in the UK, this is an excellent transfer of the film with very little signs of print damage, it is shown in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 making it full screen. At 73 minutes long I was surprised that disc 1 contained nothing in the way of extras but this did allow for the best possible film presentation.
Extras include a cabaret performance with Kassagi, illusionist and expert pickpocket, he acted as technical advisor and took the role of the skilled pickpocket in the film, his skills are ably demonstrated on members of the audience. There are also interviews with Robert Bresson and various members of the cast which I hvent seen yet and a trailer for the film.
Out of interest:
While watching the film I couldn't help being reminded of Xiao Wu (which is also known as Pickpocket) the central characters were similar in a number of ways, from their general demeanor, their postures, even down to their ill fitting suits. The only thing missing was the guilt and I wonder how much of an influence Pickpocket was on Jia Zhang-ke when he made Xiao Wu?