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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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Stealing the Scene: Crime as Confession in Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket

Stealing the Scene: Crime as Confession in Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket

(p.85) Chapter 4 Stealing the Scene: Crime as Confession in Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket
Border Crossing

S. Ceilidh Orr

Edinburgh University Press

Noting the difficulty of interpreting Bresson’s use of Dostoevskii’s Crime and Punishment in The Pickpocket as an adaptation per se, this chapter argues that the director takes part in the generic tradition of confession. Pickpocketing becomes not just a crime but also, through Bresson’s disruption of the psychological cause and effect that the viewer expects, a repeated attempt at confession. Because of Bresson’s hero’s inability to explain the motivation for his crime, he resembles not only Dostoevskii’s hero Raskolnikov, but also Meursault of Camus’s The Stranger. By creating these gaps, Bresson forces viewers to negotiate the borders not only between genres but between disconnected acts.

Keywords:   adaptation, Bresson, Camus, confession, crime, Dostoevskii, pickpocketing

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