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MOUCHETTE is one of Robert Bresson's greatest cinematic achievements, plumbing immense emotional depths in one of the most searing, heartbreaking portraits of human frailty ever committed to celluloid. Hemmed in by a dying mother, an alcoholic father and a baby brother in need of care, the adolescent Mouchette searches for sanctuary in nature and domestic chores. As the delicate intricacies of her life are played out a touching, tender and tragic portrait is painted, making her of one of cinema's most memorable tragic heroines. An essential piece of classic French filmmaking.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film, based on the novel by G. Bernanos, is a moving portrait of an outcast. Mouchette is a member of a poor family. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Luc REYNAERT
This isn't a great movie. A really good and unusual idea with a fantastic central performance from Nadine Nortier is let down by bizarrely amateurish direction. Read morePublished 8 months ago by John Vine
A great film by the director Andre Bresson in glorious black and white. It,s totally engrossing and the ending is amazing. And in Blu ray its suberb.Published 12 months ago by Dela
Mouchette is a film about a girl who seems almost predestined to commit suicide, born as she is into an environment that can't fulfill her needs and desires, and into circumstances... Read morePublished 22 months ago by The Sweet poetry of Pus
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... Read morePublished on 15 Aug. 2014 by Keith M
Mouchette is a particularly sad film, but one that repays close attention. It was the second film Bresson made from a novel by Bernanos, the first being Diary Of A Country Priest... Read morePublished on 24 Jun. 2014 by schumann_bg