Upon hearing last week that the purportedly upcoming Blu-ray edition of Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar had once again been been subject to delay I remarked on Twitter that with it came the further prolonging of to what is becoming the longest-running punchline in home video.
Blu-ray editions of Au Hasard Balthazar and Mouchette have mooted for almost two years now. Though officially confirmed in December 2012, this pair of films have been subject to countless delays and postponements. Artificial Eye have been very quiet on the subject, leading to frustration, though unofficial chat has suggested that it is the pursuit of extra material that has been slowing things down. Even more frustratingly DVD and HD digital editions have been available since last February.
Bresson has been particularly slow in making the migration to Blu-ray, with speculation leading some to believe that the Bresson estate would like to see all of the director’s films under one roof. This is backed up by the fact that these two titles were the only ones in the uk previously with a distributor other than Artificial Eye (who acquired the rights after Nouveux Pictures held them earlier in the life of the DVD format). Artificial Eye’s DVD releases of other Bresson films have been, for the most part, exemplary, so the news that Au Hasard Balthazar and Mouchette were making the leap via them was exciting to say the least.
It seems that things may be looking up. Check discs of Mouchette are out in the wild, and as of right now that disc is scheduled to be released next Monday, over a year later than planned. That said, the mere idea of owning either film in HD is in itself the most exciting prospect. Let’s just hope Pickpocket doesn’t take quite as long.