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Border CrossingRussian Literature into Film$
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Alexander Burry and Frederick White

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411424

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411424.001.0001

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On Not Showing Dostoevskii’s Work: Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket

On Not Showing Dostoevskii’s Work: Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket

(p.64) Chapter 3 On Not Showing Dostoevskii’s Work: Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket
Border Crossing

Olga Peters Hasty

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on Robert Bresson’s engagement of Dostoevskii’s Crime and Punishment in his 1959 film The Pickpocket. It argues that although Bresson suppresses Dostoevskii’s emphasis on psychology in favor of his own ascetic cinematic style, he nevertheless locates important points of contact with the novelist’s existentialist questions and concern for alienation from others. Bresson’s replacement of the murder of a pawnbroker with the crime of pickpocketing recalls another Dostoevskian novel, The Gambler, in which the protagonist tests himself against fate through risky bets at the roulette wheel that, similarly to Raskolnikov and Bresson’s hero Michel, enslave him in a compulsion that erodes his selfhood.

Keywords:   alienation, Bresson, crime, Dostoevskii, existentialist, pawnbroker, pickpocketing, roulette, selfhood

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