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MOUCHETTE

France, 1967 (MIFF 1968, Programme 9)

Director: Robert Bresson

Like Bresson's earlier Diary of a Country Priest, this film is based on a novel by Bernanos, but this time the book has been freely adapted. It is the story of an utterly despised and rejected person: a fourteen-year-old semi-literate girl who is nothing but a drudge in an impoverished alcoholic peasant family. Humiliated and bereft of love, the film tells of the Calvary of the last twenty-four hours of her life.

There is no extraneous sentiment and no attempt at explanation. Events follow one another with inevitability as Mouchette makes her way almost unswervingly towards her destiny. This deceptively simple film is a disturbing, poignant vehicle, but Bresson treats it all with such grace that, at the end, Mouchette's death is more like an epiphany than an annihilation. Backed by the Monteverdi Magnificat, this scene is also a moment of exaltation and one of the great ones of cinema.

See also...

AU HASARD, BALTHAZAR

The burden of humanity is placed on the shoulders and into the very being of one of God's forgotten creatures in Bresson's masterpiece, the ultimate animal film. ... Baptised by three children and ... More »

FOUR NIGHTS OF A DREAMER

After having made The Gentle Creature, in Four Nights of a Dreamer, Bresson once again turns to Dostoevsky &ndash: the script being based on "White Nights", and centering on what Bresson calls ... More »

THE TRIAL OF JOAN OF ARC

Robert Bresson's account of the Joan of Arc story, although austere and elliptical as are all his films, remains very close to the written records of the trial held in 1431. ... The film begins ... More »

DEVIL PROBABLY, THE

"By far the most punk movie ever made." - Richard Hell, punk legend ... Banned in France for its daring portrayal of alienated youth - and called a masterpiece by the likes of Francois Truffaut - The ... More »

A MAN ESCAPED

Bresson's A Man Escaped, like The Trial of Joan of Arc, is closely based on factual records. Yet it is far from being a documentary. 'I would like to show this miracle', Bresson explains. 'An ... More »

A GENTLE CREATURE

The husband of a young girl who has just killed herself relates in a formal, almost detached manner, the strange story of their meeting, marriage and life together. It reveals the situation of a ... More »

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