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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles

Contributed by David Smith on Apr 26th, 2019. Artwork published in .
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles 1
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Au hasard Balthazar is a 1966 French tragedy film directed by Robert Bresson. Believed to be inspired by a passage from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel The Idiot, the film follows a donkey as he is given to various owners, most of whom treat him callously.Noted for Bresson’s ascetic directorial style and regarded as a work of profound emotional effect, it is frequently listed as one of the greatest films of all time. — Wikipedia

The opening titles are in Vendôme gras, in all lowercase characters. Designed by François Ganeau, with the input of Roger Excoffon, it was described as a renewal and rejuvenation of Garamont, “a muscular Garamond of the 20th century” [Corpus typographique français]. Vendôme was issued by the Fonderie Olive in 1952.

About seven minutes into the film, there’s a title card in a different typeface, reading “Les années passent” (“The years go by”). It features another, lesser-known French typeface from the 1950s. Psitt (sometimes spelled Pssitt) was drawn by René Ponot for the Fonderie Typographique Française in 1953. Its unconnected letterforms appear to emulate handlettering. Here it’s used in all caps, unfortunately with careless spacing. In 2014, Marine Stephan made a digital interpretation of Psitt as a student project at ESAD. Among commonly available fonts, Benguiat Frisky comes close.

See more images on The Movie Title Stills Collection, or watch the full opening sequence.

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles 2
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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles 3
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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles 4
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Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles 5
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  • Psitt
  • Vendôme




Artwork location

2 Comments on “Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) titles”

  1. Thanks David,

    I’d never heard of Psitt before.
    You’ve just helped me identify the typeface of another title sequence: LE PISTONNÉ (Claude Berri, 1970)

  2. Great addition, Christian! That’s a lot of Psitt. Thank you for maintaining the Movie Title Stills Collection, it’s a wonderful resource!

    By the way, for those who don’t know the site: Christian aims to create the definitive archive of title design. He has documented the titles of more than 4,000 movies, from 1902 to 2017. You can support the project by becoming a patron.

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