National Crime Reading Month

PICKPOCKET Film Directed by Robert Bresson at the BFI, 2 for 1 Offer for NCRM

South-east England (inc. London) & East Anglia

Event Type:Film
Event Organiser:British Film Institute
Booking Link:https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/Online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=pickpocket2022
Other Links: https://www.bfi.org.uk/bfi-southbank
Ticket Price:£3 - £8 use Bresson241

BFI Southbank
Belvedere Road
South Bank
London SE1 8XT

Venue accessibility:

At BFI Southbank we welcome everyone and want our venue to be available to as many people as possible.

Accessible parking
Blue Badge holders and those with access requirements can be dropped off by the BFI Shop on Theatre Avenue.

Blue Badge Parking, APCOA Cornwall Road
Alternative parking for Blue Badge holders visiting BFI Southbank can also be found at the South Bank Car Park - APCOA Cornwall Road Car Park.

Accessible screenings
In all four screens we’re now able to provide audio description (AD) if available, via infra-red headsets, for those who are blind or partially sighted. Please collect and return your headset to the box office.

We’re also able to show, when a film is released with the option available, on-screen subtitles (CC) for customers who are D/deaf and those experiencing hearing loss.

Assistance animals
We welcome guide dogs and assistance animals at BFI Southbank and can accommodate them in cinemas. Please book in advance so that we can allocate the most appropriate seating. We are able to provide drinking water for your animal and, where staffing allows, can look after your animal during the screening.

Blind and partially sighted visitors
We welcome guide and assistance dogs at BFI Southbank and can accommodate them in the cinemas. Please book in advance so that we can allocate the most appropriate seating. We are able to provide drinking water for your dog and, where staffing allows, we’ll be happy to look after your dog during the screening.

Running throughout June, check booking link for times and dates

PICKPOCKET Directed by Robert Bresson

France, 1959, 76 mins, cert PG, French with English subtitles

A BFI Distribution release

Use Bresson241 to get two tickets for the price of one when booking. Our box office counter is open daily from 11:00am to 8:45pm. Book online (link below) or call 020 7928 3232.

(watch the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyCTOHA4ejA&ab_channel=BFI )


“As close to perfect as there can be” Paul Schrader

“So intense and so beautiful” Werner Herzog

“An absolute masterpiece” Richard Linklater

With Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Pierre Leymarie, Jean Pélégri

Opening on 3 June 2022 at BFI Southbank, Cine Lumiere, Tyneside Cinema and selected cinemas UK-wide


PICKPOCKET (1959), one of the greatest films of the minimalist French director Robert Bresson (1901-1999) will be returning to the big screen in selected cinemas UK-wide on 3 June. Re-released by BFI Distribution, PICKPOCKET will also have an extended run during the BFI Southbank season OF SIN AND SALVATION: THE CINEMA OF ROBERT BRESSON, running throughout June. BFI Distribution is making two further Bresson films, THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC (1962) and L’ARGENT (1983), available for UK cinemas to book from 3 June.

In Paris in the late 1950s, Michel (Martin LaSalle, a non-professional actor at the time), a young man of intellectual background but unemployed, makes his living through petty theft from strangers. Caught out in an unsuccessful attempted theft at a horse race, he tries to justify the exhilaration of the expert thief to the police inspector who interviews him, gloomily and quite openly betraying his own feeling of superiority to society coupled with a certain urge towards self-destruction. He is released, but kept under observation. The death of Michel’s mother (whom he had also stolen from), and the reactions of his friends Jacques and Jeanne, stir up his conscience. But when he meets a master pickpocket who trains him and takes him on as a partner, he reverts to theft with dedicated, albeit pessimistic, enthusiasm.

In his fifth feature, a character study of a petty thief – who does not primarily steal for financial gain – Bresson’s screenplay was inspired by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Using terse narration by Michel himself and showing his diary entries, Bresson’s austere, stylish drama, brilliantly edited to reveal Michel’s practice and skill in sleight of hand, seeks to understand the reasons for his immoral behaviour.

PICKPOCKET is a favourite of contemporary directors including Werner Herzog, Lynne Ramsay and Richard Linklater, and heavily influenced Paul Schrader and Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER.

Intentionally not a thriller but certainly not without suspense, Bresson’s film is profoundly ambivalent about Michel’s ethics, sexuality (he seems aroused by his thefts), his capacity for compassion and his courtship of suspicion in others. His isolation, however, is undeniable. A riveting morality tale reminiscent of both Hitchcock and Dostoevsky, it’s imbued with the director’s distinctive rigour.

Geoff Andrew, BFI Programmer-at-large

The month-long BFI Southbank season, OF SIN AND SALVATION: THE CINEMA OF ROBERT BRESSON, will explore the work of this great French filmmaker, known for his tales of transgression, redemption and grace which often cast non-professional actors. It will feature a richly illustrated talk from season curator Geoff Andrew on 7 June and, as well as the extended run of PICKPOCKET, screenings of Bresson’s work will include LES DAMES DU BOIS DE BOULOGNE (1945), A MAN ESCAPED (1956), THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC (1962), AU HASARD BALTHAZAR(1966), MOUCHETTE (1966), LANCELOT DU LAC (1974) and more.

UK-wide screening venues for PICKPOCKET will be listed/updated at www.bfi.org.uk/releases

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