I was a kleptomaniac in the third grade. I remember it vividly. It seems I did it out of sheer boredom – some needed thrill or excitement in my otherwise non-eventful seven year old existence. For an introvert like me, stealing was the perfect solitary game. The rules were simple: play until you got caught. As a youth I was immune to any serious form of punishment so the risk-reward was in my favor.
By Peggy Nelson
Pickpocket – 1959 – dir. Robert Bresson
He sidles up to her. A quick glance, suspicious, complicit. Does she know? Does she notice? Ostensibly they are betting on the horses. His long fingers spread, ever so slowly, over the purse. The pressure is subtle, slight, relentless. His fingertips tease the edge of the clasp. Gently, gently, yes! he pops it open. His eyes flicker. Her face is still calm, a nimbus of white against his dark intensity. The fingers slip inside the folds: one, two, three . . . we suddenly hear the horses thundering along the track. Louder, more insistent, until—he emerges with the money! The horses are unstoppable! The finish line is breached! And, it is over. The crowd disperses, he blends into the Brownian motion. He has gotten away with it! Drained by the effort, he walks/stumbles away.
And is immediately caught. End Scene One.