Often cited by critics and historians as one of the cinema’s all-time greats, Au Hasard Balthazar takes a simple premise reminiscent of Black Beauty and expands on it with devotion and reverence. The movie follows the life of a donkey named Balthazar who is buffeted from one owner to the next, encountering much hardship, a lot of cruelty and not enough grace along the way. Like all of Robert Bresson’s pictures, this has a pristine, almost spiritual aura no other filmmaker has been able to match. Bresson forces us to see humanity through Balthazar’s eyes, and in doing so heightens his film’s religious implications. If we reveal our true selves around animals – our full capacities for both violence and tenderness – could a donkey’s point of view be similar to God’s? That may be an uncomfortable question to answer, but Bresson doesn’t let us off the hook, right down to the unshakeable final shot. Au Hasard Balthazar has the transcendent beauty of a Renaissance painting and the inspiring fire of a sermon. It’s one of those rare movies that could change your life, by making you rethink how you live it.