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http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/bresson.htm
France 1959

 

Robert Bresson’s masterful investigation of crime and redemption tells the story of the young, arrogant Michel (Martin LaSalle), who spends his days learning the art of picking pockets in the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris. As Michel grows bolder and more adept, so too grows his fear that his luck is about to run out. But despite the pleadings of his sick mother and the lovely Jeanne to return to the world of the honorable, he is consumed by his compulsion to steal. Tautly choreographed and stylistically rigorous, Pickpocket reveals Bresson at his enigmatic, virtuosic best.
 

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 1959

Reviews                                                                      More Reviews                                                              DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Gary Tooze and Henrik Sylow for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

2) MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 314

Region 1 - NTSC

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Artificial Eye
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion - Spine # 314 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:15:57 1:12:35 (4% PAL speedup) 1:12:35 (4% PAL speedup) 1:16:19.157
Video 1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.84 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.55 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,393,316,388 bytes

Feature: 22,450,145,280 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson)

 

Bitrate:

 

MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson)

 

Bitrate:

 

Artificial Eye

 

Bitrate: Blu-ray

 

Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital French 2.0 Dolby Digital French

2.0 Dolby Digital French

LPCM Audio French 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Subtitles English, None English, German, Spanish, Italian, None English, German, Spanish, Italian, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by film scholar James Quandt
• Video introduction by writer-director Paul Schrader (14:46)
• The Models of “Pickpocket,” a 2003 documentary by filmmaker Babette Mangolte, featuring actors from the film (52:08)
• A 1960 interview with Bresson, from the French tele­vision program Cinépanorama (6:27)
• Q&A on Pickpocket, with actress Marika Green and filmmakers Paul Vecchiali and Jean-Pierre Améris fielding questions at a 2000 screening of the film
• Footage of sleight-of-hand artist and Pickpocket consultant Kassagi, from a 1962 episode of the French television show La piste aux étoiles (11:34)
• Original theatrical trailer
• Liner notes essay by novelist and culture critic Gary Indiana

DVD Release Date: November 8th, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: MK2

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Robert Bresson (6:27)
• The Models of Pickpocket (52:14)
• - Pierre Leymarie (13:27)
• - Marika Green (12:27)
• - Martin Lassalle (26:10)
• Auteur de Pickpocket (12:57) - Jean-Pierre Améris, Marika Green, Paul Vecchiali
• Kassagi (11:34)
• Trailer (2:32)

DVD Release Date: March 23rd, 2005
Keep Case

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Robert Bresson (6:27) - Cinépanorama (1960)
• The Models of Pickpocket (52:14)
• - Pierre Leymarie (13:27)
• - Marika Green (12:27)
• - Martin Lassalle (26:10)
• Auteur de Pickpocket (12:57) - Jean-Pierre Améris, Marika Green, Paul Vecchiali
• Kassagi (11:34) - of
• Trailer (2:32)
 

DVD Release Date: April 25, 2005
Double Amarey

Chapters 17

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,393,316,388 bytes

Feature: 22,450,145,280 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 34.91 Mbps

 

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary by film scholar James Quandt
• Video introduction by writer-director Paul Schrader (14:48)
• The Models of “Pickpocket,” a 2003 documentary by filmmaker Babette Mangolte, featuring actors from the film (52:15)
• A 1960 interview with Bresson, from the French tele­vision program Cinépanorama (6:27)
• Q&A on Pickpocket, with actress Marika Green and filmmakers Paul Vecchiali and Jean-Pierre Améris fielding questions at a 2000 screening of the film
• Footage of sleight-of-hand artist and Pickpocket consultant Kassagi, from a 1962 episode of the French television show La piste aux étoiles (11:35)
• Original theatrical trailer (2;34)
• Liner notes essay by novelist and culture critic Gary Indiana

Blu-ray Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 17

 

Comments

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION - Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray June 2014: This new Criterion 1080P supports Pickpocket's textures through its higher resolution. It is slightly brighter than the SDs - has superior contrast - and we see the slightly cropped information Henrik mentioned in the DVD - retuned to the right edge of the Blu-ray. Detail improves - notable in the many close-ups of hands and the written text (see samples below.) The 2k restoration with max'ed out bitrate looks as good as I anticipated and extremely impressive in-motion.

Audio is linear PCM mono and sounds clean although I occasionally notice what I believe to be slight sync issues. Most of the time it is not noticeable. There are optional English subtitles and the Blu-ray disc is, as you may have suspected, region 'A'-locked.

Extras duplicate the 2005 DVD - the James Quandt commentary, intro by Paul Schrader, The Models of “Pickpocket,” 2003 documentary by Babette Mangolte, an interview with director Robert Bresson from a 1960 episode of the French television program Cinépanorama, a Q&A on Pickpocket from 2000, featuring actor Marika Green and filmmakers Paul Vecchiali and Jean-Pierre Améris and vintage footage of the sleight-of-hand artist and Pickpocket consultant Kassagi from a 1962 episode of the French television show La piste aux étoiles. There is also a trailer and the package contains a liner notes booklet with an essay by novelist and critic Gary Indiana. The Dual-format package has a DVD with the feature and all the supplements of the lone Blu-ray disc.

Bresson on Blu-ray is an essential purchase, IMO. This provides a strong presentation of an immensely re-watchable film - I see something new each time I view it. The supplements are educational and fascinating. Our highest recommendation!

***

 

ADDITION: Criterion - October 05': At times we debate whether a Criterion image is actually sharper or simply has the appearance of being sharper by manipulation of contrast and saturation levels. In this particular case I actually do think it is sharper - contrast level adjustment can make black lines blacker and lighter shades lighter but it cannot really make hazier images more detailed. The Criterion is more detailed than both of MK2 and the Artificial Eye. The Criterion has some contrast fluctuation and has some visible film grain (or digital noise).

The complaint with the Criterion will be their own framing of Bresson's image. There appears to be haphazard and inconsistent cropping of the image mostly on the top and right edge. For years I have stated that this MUST be an occurrence of the Criterion digitization/restoration process but I have no conclusive evidence to support my theory. It happens on virtually all Criterion DVDs that we compare - it is probably a combination of zooming and slight pan + scanning. Whether you are overly offended by this matting is a personal decision.

The Criterion removable subtitles are slightly superior - a little more detailed in a few spots and a less intrusive (smaller), yet still have a perfectly visible font. 

The extras; a few of the extras on the other release are duplicated on the Criterion - The Models of Pickpocket, the Bresson Interview, a trailer and the Kassagi performance. In addition to that the Criterion has a 15 minute Paul Schrader introduction (excellent!!!), a Q&A on Pickpocket, liner notes and the James Quant commentary that I felt was rather stuffed - he was talking very fast. It was great information, for the most part, but he really seemed rushed.

Bottom line: So if this were a foot race Criterion have come from behind with the later release and passed both of their competitors. If you can live with the often very minor cropping of the image then the Criterion is definitely the definitive release of this masterpiece film. 

***

It appears as though both editions are exact. The Artificial Eye is a licensed port of the MK2 and has the same degree of sharpness, original audio, subtitle options, extra features and the same menus, except the AE are in English.

The only real difference (albeit minute) that we could find are that in the subtitles, where the Mk2 appears a few frames later than on Artificial Eye. Note the difference between them in Image #1. Both before Michel points and after his finger is out of the image, the Artificial Eye has no subtitles on in that specific scene.

The extras are the same and begins with an interview of Bresson from French TV (Cinépanorama 1960) where Bressons answers questions towards his techniques and the film itself. Following this comes three interviews with the three main actors, recorded in 2003, then a Q&A from 2000 with Ameris, Green and director Paul Vecchiali, and finally a demonstration of pickpocketing by Kassagi from the TV-show "La Piste aux Ètoiles" from 1962. Simply superb additional material.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 


Recommended Reading for Robert Bresson fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

 

Check out more in "The Library"





 Menus

 

Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC

 



(MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

English subtitle sample

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC TOP

2) MK2 (3 Films de Robert Bresson) - Region 2 - PAL - SECOND

3) Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL - THIRD

4) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray captures

Hit Counter

Report Card:

 

Image:

Criterion Blu-ray

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Criterion + Blu-ray

Recommended Reading for Robert Bresson fans (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

 

 

Check out more in "The Library"


 

Box Covers

Distribution

Criterion Collection - Spine # 314

Region 1 - NTSC

MK2

Region 2 - PAL

Artificial Eye
Region 2 - PAL
Criterion - Spine # 314 - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 




 

 

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