|Formats:||15 DVD, Blu-ray|
|Starring:||Paul Hebert, Nadine Nortier, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Marie Cardinal, Paul HéBert, Jean Vimenet, Raymonde Huguenin, Suzanne Huguenin, Raymonde Chabrun, Marie Susini, Marine Triche|
|Genres:||Drama, World Cinema|
|Run time:||1 hour 18 minutes|
|Rental release:||22 Nov 2004|
Most helpful review
great technique, but...By a customer from Oxford, England , 04 Feb 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]A poor young girl is unloved and eventually abandoned by her family and the community she lives in.
Bresson is widely acknowledged as a great filmmaker, and I had high hopes for this film. Indeed, his cinematic techniques are beautifully deployed - film schools could probably use this film for brilliant examples of montage (editing), composition, and lighting. There is very little dialogue, and the simple story is effectively told using strking but always relevant images. If you are at all interested in a kind of purity of technique you should certainly see it.
However, it doesn't matter how good it looks if the subject matter is ultimately unsatisfying. Having also seen Bresson's Au Hasard, Balthazar, I get phenomenally irrated with his female protagonists. They are victimized, tormented, weak, and they just sit and take it. It's not unlike watching a film by Lars von Trier in that respect. I understand that Bresson was strongly Catholic, and there is a lot of symbolism, both visual and thematic, relating to that particular brand of Christianity, and how much you actually enjoy the film may depend on your sympathies in that direction. As an atheist, I find the persistent themes of sacrifice and denial of self and pleasure somewhat overbearing, and this and the coldness of the camera's eye serves to make it a very inhuman (and inhumane) film. I didn't care about any of the characters in the slightest, and was desperate for someone to act like a real human being, instead of wandering around in what looks like a perpetual daze.
A faintly depressing experience. Although I did want to get out my cinecamera.
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a tale of isolation and crueltyBy benshakespeare (3 reviews) from Caterham , 05 Apr 2008
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS Show review anywayHidecharting the emblematic fracturing of a young girl shouldering the burdens associated with a male-oriented society in 1960s countrified France, and her steady destruction by forces of cruelty, this beautiful film unfolds at a slow pace, revealing itself in all its ambiguity like a budding flower. Beautifully shot.
a real let downBy thesoviet (6 reviews) from Leeds, England , 03 Feb 2008This was my first experience of Robert Bresson and so far it has been my last. I felt his experimental approach to casting really dampened what could have been a pretty powerful film. I ended up disliking a character who was obviously written to be sympathised with because the 'realist' acting was so poor.
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The camera's pitiless gazeBy Savage (632 reviews) from London, England , 05 Mar 2007Bresson's second go at a Bernanos novel isn't as good as 'Journal d'un cure de campagne', but it pares down his anti-dramatic technique even further, scraping away anything that doesn't directly reflect upon the protagonist, eschewing anything that might involve the audience in any way with her plight. We must observe, but not become part of the scene, for the simple reason that we can't. Bresson builds his wall around the events of the film, knowing that they are as distant from us in the cinema as can be.
So instead, he presents us with the tragic tale of a fourteen year old girl, looking after her dying mother, and trying to stay out of everyone else's way. She rejects all offers of help and charity, and is eventually caught up in a drunken feud between the gamekeeper and a poacher, a piece of nature who finally proves un-catchable in any net.
Some of Bresson's symbolism is a little clunking (her one moment of happiness comes on a dodgem ride, bumped and bashed by one and all), but the cinematography is luminescent, and the film is absolutely engrossing.
Almost perfectBy Jevon Taylor from London , 06 Nov 2006I think this is Robert Bresson's best film. Head and shoulders above Balthazar quite simply because of its eponimous heroine replacing the eponimous donkey.
Whereas in the 1966 film we see the cruelty with which the donkey is faced in the world whilst he placidly accepts (and forgives?) it/them all, in Mouchette we see a young girl struggle against that same cruel world.
As she tries to cope she pushes kindness from her classmates and more friendly neighbours away. When she finds someone she feels she can trust (the poacher) and he betrays (rapes) her, she puts her arms around him. Instead of trying to pass off kindness from people she does not trust as cruelty, she holds tightly on to the poacher's (an epileptic, or outsider, like her) cruelty as kindness. Mouchette then struggles with her various defences, claiming for example that the poacher is her lover, before they crumble before her. This leaves only one possible outcome for the film.
I find Mouchette so touching and so spot on that when other people do not I can't help but think they are (at least) a little heartless - just as those who understand her placing her arms around her assailant as meaning her assault is something less than rape. It makes it MORE, more terrible, God damn it!!
Sorry about that, but its true.
Girl on the edge...By Tom Ruffles from Cambridge , 02 Oct 2006Mouchette is a loner, unloved at home where she is put upon by her family, nursing her ill mother and baby brother while her father and brother take her for granted, her father even taking the earnings from her part-time cafe job. And because she is slightly rebellious, poorly socialised or even just poor, she is despised and ostracised at school while pitied and patronised by the village's adults. The cinematography lovingly documents her world, its drudgery, the humiliations she endures, her father and brother's bootlegging, the rivalry between the gamekeeper and the poacher and Mouchette's fleeting pleasure at a funfair and the possibility of engagement with someone her own age that is rudely disrupted by her boorish father.
Portraying Mouchette as a victim of ignorance and poverty is legitimate, but I would query Bresson's treatment of her. There is an uncomfortable eroticism here that is voyeuristic and exploitative. In the rape scene she is shown to grip her assailant tightly, as if enjoying the experience, precisely the problem that Peckinpah ran into with Straw Dogs (though Mouchette is not nearly as graphic). Also there are a large number of shots of her thighs and stockings (typical legwear for young teenagers even in rural France in 1967?). Bresson in his misogyny becomes complicit in the ill-treatment meted out to her.
Mouchette herself shows sparks of rebellion, refusing to sing in class, throwing clods of soil at classmates and refusing to be patronised or censured. But it is hard to see what sort of future she would have in this community. A positive outcome would be to suggest that she would leave the village on one of the lorries that incessantly run past her front door, but instead it ends badly, if implausibly. The repressive patriarchal order is maintained at the expense of the individual, young and female. It reminded me of Renoir's La Regle du Jeu (probably the gamekeeper and the luminous depiction of the countryside) and it extended Renoir's points about the aristocracy to the marginalised lumpenproletariat and petit bourgeoisie. There is plenty of suffering here but no redemption on offer.
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