Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Paris Journal: Pickpocket

Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket depicted the inner world of a thief. Such artistic empathy is what makes for an edifying cinematic experience at the Cinematheque Francaise. However, when you are in Paris and have your wallet pickpocketed in the Metro, as is such a common occurrence that it’s become a rite of passage for tourists and inhabitants alike, the esthetic qualities of such loss take second place to feelings of rage and violation— followed by the realization that one must spend hours on the phone with varying banks, credit card companies and government agencies in order to restore stolen documents and make sure they are not used for fraudulent purposes. Godard’s  Breathless  also comes to mind. Nothing like watching the final scene in which  Jean Seberg hovers over the body of the dying Belmondo on a Paris street at some revival house in or out of France on a rainy afternoon. Alas, the criminal, as existential hero in French novels and films, becomes something entirely different when confronted in real life. In Greek Tragedy you have your deus ex machinas who restore order The Parisian pickpocket is a devil ex machina,  a god of unruliness, inflicting little physical harm, but working almost surgically to remove all the feelings of tranquility and timeless beauty that Paris has to offer.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.