Why a handsome and extraordinarily intelligent young man like Charles (Antoine Monnier) can say something like this? He detests drugs, helps his peers out of mathematical dead ends, keeps ascetic purity (of course, without grotesque exaggerations) as a lifestyle and is one of the leading figures in youth-movement. He is respected and admired by his friends and loved by incredible girls. But in spite of this he became more and more desperate.

Charles tormented by the dedication of modern societies to (strategic, not obvious) domination over human beings (who are from childhood are made to study for future professions promising good salaries and careers) and morbid exploitation of nature, has come to a psychoanalyst – seemingly more humanistic and existential among psychiatrists. But instead of socio-psychological interest toward Charles’ non-conformist stance creating for him more and more problems – his suffering about the conditions of human life, the shrink started to blabber-flipper about “likeliness” of psychological traumas in Charles’ childhood as the “ultimate and deep” reason of his unhappiness. The specialist was completely ignoring the socio-political climate, whitewashing the role of concrete decisions made by decision-makers of the country and locking the causes of human existential despair inside idiosyncratic personal reasons. Charles understood – how childish were his hopes – as if it’s possible to be a shrink and not to be hired either by “government” or by “the private corporation” and through this – by the very spirit of the system.

Charles tried to focus the conversation with the psychoanalyst on the destruction of the environment by fossil fuel (that doesn’t need the help of childhood traumas in destroying peace of the soul and harmonious vitality of the feelings), on human predatory behavior, but his main points to the psychoanalyst, which bothered him by making him suffer were the destruction of human soul by unemployment, cut-throat competition, cult of money-profit, mass culture of gluttonous consumerism and soul-destructing entertainment, and the impossibility to really do anything about it. But the shrink was as stump – his real task, it looks, was to avoid socio-political criticism of the system (which was making Charles sick). Conformism is comfortable, Charles was thinking while feeling that his world was becoming much less than the shrink’s neat office.

Charles and Valentin, one of his friends whom he asked to help him to die, are on their way to the cemetery not to frighten the innocent philistines who dream about survival in any, even impossible conditions of life and under any political regime.

They get off the train at the last stop

Valentin who desperately needed money to buy drugs has agreed to help. The meaning of Charles’ desire to depart from life was alien to Valentin. His pernicious drug addiction has eaten up his sensitivity.

Charles gave Valentin the gun and explained at which moment and how to act

The final steps

Pay attention to how bizarrely Valentin keeps the gun. In US nobody holds the weapon as if it has nothing to do with shooting, killing and feeling strong. For Valentin the gun, as if, was a delicate, not lethal instrument. What will follow will not be murder, but in Charles’ perception – a friend’s care about friend.

The next morning the newspaper…

Posted Sep/27/2010 –   Robert Bresson’s “Au Hazard Balthazar” (1966) and “Devil probably” (1977) – Balthazar, Marie, Charles, Alberte, Edvige, Valentine…  by Acting-Out Politics

Posted Dec/10/2014 –   “Au Hazard Balthazar” (1966) And “Devil Probably” (1977) By Robert Bresson  by Acting-Out Politics