Few ticketbuyers will take joy in “The Pleasure of Being Robbed,” Joshua Safdie’s pranksterish New York indie portrait of a deeply unsympathetic young distaff hustler. Vaguely French New Wave-inspired vision of urban delinquency got a Cannes Directors’ Fortnight slot and subsequent IFC Films pickup. But the roughly hourlong film, shot in 16mm, is sub-mumblecore, with sound so lo-fi, it’s nearly no-fi. Some fests will get “Robbed,” but streetwise exhibs should keep their pocketbooks zipped.
Charmless, unclearly motivated protag Eleonore (co-writer Eleonore Hendricks) is introduced conning a stranger before stealing a girl’s kittens and puppy, then a parked Volvo as scruffy hipster acquaintance Josh (Safdie) momentarily steers the sputtering narrative north to Boston. Aforementioned animals remain offputtingly MIA as Eleonore shows relative concern for a Bronx zoo “polar bear” played in absurd costume by co-producer Sam Lisenco. A minor character named in credits as “Hello Beautiful/Handsome Day Maker” is played by an actor known simply as “Batman.” New York location shooting appears aptly purloined, but tech accomplishments, with muffled dialogue and fuzzy imagery, are borderline appalling even by the old-school DIY standards to which the pic pretentiously aspires.