a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

Home All New Browse Search About

Balthazar and I (2021)
Massar (Writer and Director)

I recently created a short post for this movie based only on this description that I found on IMDB:

Contributed by IMDB

The main character is a lonely modern man addicted to sex. He can not understand women and is obsessed with finding the ideal. He admires mathematics and thinks that mathematics is the only way to reach his ideals like Plato. One day he buys a female robot hoping to find his ideal in a machine functioning on mathematical principles.

However, I didn't know any details aside from the fact that it won some awards at film festivals. Fortunately, frequent site contributor Vijay Fafat found it on YouTube and wrote this review:

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

This 2-actor home-made movie is a weird mix of the farcical and the philosophical, delivered almost deliberately as a puerile, comedic fantasy of one sex-addicted person who is also seeking more meaning to his life. Mathematics makes its way into the movie at various points and in the philosophical points, as can be seen from excerpts below. It also makes some biting remarks on consumerism, greed, political participation, the nature of philosophy, and “the meaningless of life in a meaningless universe” through the thoughts of a robot.

The protagonist, who calls himself “Rocco” (likely after a renowned porn star) has a priapismic problem – gifted with too large a penis and an insatiable desire for sex, which makes it nearly impossible for him to have any meaningful relationship with women, all of whom run away from his sexual appetite (”To sex or not to sex, that is the question” ). Rocco is also into philosophy and mathematics, and one day, he has a monologue at Raphael’s classic “School of Athens” painting, where he addresses his hero, Aristotle (and Plato), telling him that based on his principles of empiricism and the theory of ideal forms (by Plato), modern world has created an ability to implement machines based on numbers and mathematics, with ideals infused in them. Specifically, he informs us that having won a lottery, he has ordered a female robot built on mathematical principles to become an ideal sexual partner, without any human demands. He christens the robot, “Balthazar”, even though that is a masculine name, because he likes that character. The rest of the movie then revolves around conversations between the two, interspersed with comical sexual innuendo. Some excerpts:

(quoted from Balthazar and I)

“The number 3 is the same everywhere in the universe, but the number 3 does not exist materially anywhere in the universe.”

(quoted from Balthazar and I)

“Do you see the beauty? And Oh, this is Plato’s Lambda, based on Pythogaras’s Tetractys. See? Everything in the universe can be explained by this pattern. You should read Plato’s Timaeus, Balthazar. You will understand clearly that God is a Geometrician”.

(quoted from Balthazar and I)

“You humans use mathematics just for calculating. You’ve become walking calculators yourselves. You’ve made mathematics a slave of your economic system based on causless consumption and striving to make profit more and more and more and more and more…[…] pathetically, you have come to identify yourselves with the images of your brands. By emptying out the conceptions of mathematics and deviating from its main goal of bring people into illumination, thus to wisdom.”

I quite liked that mapping of human self-perception into identification with the “images of your brands”, quite like the philosophical process of idealizing from worldly figures into Platonic perfections of blueprinted “forms”. There is a very clever, if quick, reference to Plato’s Cave when Rocco calls up his ex-girlfriend, Jane, to say:

(quoted from Balthazar and I)

“Forgive me, Jane, you were right. I’m just an animal […] Some are influenced by the desires of riches and luxury, others by the love of power and dominion or by insane ambition for glory, and in my case, the pleasure of sex, but I’ve forgotten the purest and the most genuine character dedicated to the contemplation of the most beautiful things only found in mathematics and geometry, as its beauty doesn’t change according to the perceiver. Please give me a second chance my dear! […] I will focus all my energies on mathematics, and geometry… and quadrivium. I need get out of the cave somehow so…”.

Jane and Rocco get married, have a kid, whom Rocco is shown teaching, ‘This is a monad, and it is represented by the number one, and it covers everything…” just as the toddler burps out on him. The movie has many moments of wit and clever sarcasm, if you are able to stand the constant juvenile imagery of sex for an hour and twenty one minutes.

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Balthazar and I
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Twisted Seduction by Dominique Adams (writer and director)
  2. The Big Short by Charles Randolph (writer) / Adam McKay (writer and director)
  3. Along Came Polly by John Hamburg (Writer and Director)
  4. G103 by Oliver Tearne (director)
  5. What Are the Odds? by Justin Spitzer (writer) / Matthew Tritt (director)
  6. Do Androids Dream of Symmetric Sheaves?: And Other Mathematically Bent Stories by Colin Adams
  7. Astor Place Barber by Audrey Nasar
  8. Erasmus with Freckles [aka Dear Brigitte] by John Haase
  9. The Zero Theorem by Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director)
  10. Stand-In by Tay Garnett
Ratings for Balthazar and I:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.


MediumFilms, Available Free Online,

Home All New Browse Search About

Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)