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  • Criterion Collection: Mouchette [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Criterion Collection: Mouchette [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Criterion Collection: Mouchette [DVD] [1967] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Au Hasard Balthazar [DVD] [1966] + A Man Escaped [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Nadine Nortier, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Marie Cardinal, Paul Hebert, Jean Vimenet
  • Directors: Robert Bresson, Theodor Kotulla
  • Writers: Robert Bresson, Georges Bernanos
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Jan. 2007
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K0YLX2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 166,572 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Perhaps the most accessible of Robert Bresson's films, this story of a 14-year-old schoolgirl at the mercy of the world around her is like a melodrama stripped of flourish. Mouchette is an angry adolescent in the French provinces, the daughter of a drunken bootlegger and a dying, bedridden mother, a pariah in school and a figure of village gossip. She rebels in typically adolescent ways, lobbing mud at teasing classmates and defying wagging tongues with a wilful stare, but her deep pain and loneliness pour from her hollow, sad eyes. There's no sentimentality in Bresson's portrait of village life but for a few brief moments the film explodes with energy and emotion. Mouchette rides the bumper cars at a local fair, flirting with a young boy in loving bumps and deliberate rams, and her dour expression flowers in a smile as the fairground speakers blare a rock & roll tune... until her father's heavy hand slaps her back to reality. It's a moment unlike any other in a Bresson film, a joyous reprieve from the monotony of her life, but if the rest of her existence is glum and hopeless, the film is unexpectedly beautiful. The style is often fragmented--the film opens on a stunning play of hands, feet and spying eyes as poacher and police both wait for their prey--but the beauty of the forests and meadows creates an idyllic naturalism that leavens Bresson's harsh portrait of the human condition. --Sean Axmaker

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Film Buff on 1 July 2014
Format: DVD
Robert Bresson's 1967 masterpiece Mouchette is the second of two adaptations he made of novels by the French Catholic and staunch monarchist writer Georges Bernanos. The first was Diary of a Country Priest (Journal d'un curé de campagne), a film made in 1951 and considered by many (including Andrei Tarkovsky no less) as the greatest spiritual work ever committed to celluloid. For me that is Bresson's most difficult film and I will come back to a comparison between it and Mouchette when I review it later. For now, I think it more enlightening to draw parallels between Mouchette and its immediate predecessor, Au hasard Balthazar (1966). This was the one and only time in Bresson's career where he made two films in quick succession (securing funds was a perennial problem for him) and similarities between the two are so close that one could be considered a loose reworking of the other.

Both films are set in the French countryside and address the poverty of village life in a direct and accusatory manner that provoked French audiences upon first release. Mouchette in particular caused consternation with its story of a poor teenage girl (the Mouchette of the title) who endures a miserable existence, one which she can escape in the end only by killing herself. Apparently, in the world according to Robert Bresson death is preferable to life in a French village and the outrage caused by the film's release is understandable, especially when the parents of Nadine Nortier (the girl who plays Mouchette) complained long and loud about Bresson's usage of their daughter.

Like the poor donkey Balthazar, Mouchette is forced to negotiate the 7 Stations of the Cross on the way to her Calvary - her final redemption and her attainment of grace.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Alan Pavelin VINE VOICE on 29 Sept. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
One of Bresson's two middle-period masterpieces (the other being Au Hasard Balthazar). Based on a Bernanos novel, this is a stunning portrait of a 14-year-old girl, living in rural poverty, who is rejected by the world, whether her family, her schoolmates, or the other villagers. The only person who shows any interest is a boy at the fairground, who brings about Mouchette's only smile of the film, until her father brusquely separates them. As in nearly all his films, Bresson uses non-professional actors ("models"), a very elliptical and sparse style, and particularly stunning monochrome photography. Dramas involving the other characters are going on beneath the surface, which only really emerge at a second viewing. Finally Mouchette finds a kind of redemption in the only way she can. A superlative film.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Budge Burgess on 11 July 2005
Format: DVD
Robert Bresson (1901-1999) began directing in 1934 and made 13 feature films between 1943-1983, the first two during the German Occupation of France. He achieved great critical acclaim, is widely cited by many of the world's leading film makers as one of their major influences, yet his films never achieved great box office popularity. Described as 'uncompromising', Bresson was not prepared to listen to the marketing people or to sacrifice control over his own art - he made the films he wanted to make, not the ones which would earn money.
Bresson is a director who strives for visual impact - the majority of his films were shot in black and white and he probably demonstrates greater visual control in this medium than in his later, colour films. And the visual element can be emphatic - his films are often sparse in their use of dialogue while Bresson makes exaggerated use of natural sound effects (wind, rain, footsteps, creaking boards).
And Bresson uses unknown or amateur actors - no big names, no easy familiarity with the faces on the screen. Bresson wanted his audience to concentrate on the story and its emotions, even if his style might make these enigmatic, if not cryptic. He began as a painter, and often referred to his actors as 'models' - they were there to provide visual images. And his models were stripped of emotion - he didn't want them to portray emotion as a public show, but to exhibit something more transcendent.
Heavily influenced by a Catholic vision of predestination, Bresson avoids concerted effort to explore the psychology of his characters. In many of his films the characters simply accept their fate - they know they are destined to suffer and battle against an illusion of free will.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keith M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Bresson's 1967 depiction of the trials and tribulations of oppressed young girl Mouchette has as its obvious companion-piece (in Bresson's body of work) the previous year's Au Hasard Balthazar. But whereas Bresson's donkey was able to retain some degree of innocence and spirituality, here its human counterpart has had her adolescent 'innocence' ground down so much by human cruelty - led by her alcoholic father played by Paul Hebert - that Mouchette has, despite clutching onto a heartfelt love for her dying mother and baby brother, been driven to cynicism bordering on nihilism (placing her on a par with, say, Kieslowsksi's Jacek in A Short Film About Killing or Haneke's Benny from Benny's Video). As you probably have guessed, Mouchette is far from a barrel of laughs, instead providing another stark, dispassionate Bressonian examination of the dark side of humanity, and the deleterious effects of social alienation, coerced guilt and temptation.

Mouchette displays all the hallmarks of Bresson's trademark (and unique) approach to film-making - predominantly long static shots (courtesy of Ghislain Cloquet's evocative cinematography) plus some 'off-centre' framing, a sparse (but atmospheric) soundtrack featuring Monteverdi and his usual cast of (predominantly) first-time actors. I find Mouchette's cast to have slightly less of the automata (or, in Bresson's words, 'models') about them, with a higher degree of emoting, and Nadine Nortier's role as the film's 'lost innocent', with her increasingly disdainful and desperate take on life, one of Bresson's finest ever screen depictions.
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