Despite the encouragement of Dean Menou-Segrais, Fr. Donissan doubts his vocation. When the young Mouchette, who has killed her lover, turns to him, he condemns her and drives her to suicide. One evening, walking down a country road, he passes a horse dealer in whom he recognizes Satan.
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Long scenes of dialogue suddenly interrupted by whiplash plot turns. Parts of it play like a giant "fuck you" to Robert Bresson, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a provocative tale, where what people take away from their faiths can either be the darkness or the light. If they can even sort out the difference.
Has that day-for-night feeling of an upturned world, shot in negative and revealing everything as it really is. The Devil portrayed as a man, stalking a haunted priest through the countryside, reminds me that confections such as "The Exorcist" are children's films by comparison.
Wow, this is beautiful! Long dialogues and stunning scenes from the start to the end. If you seek for a film with breathtaking stills, this is it: very dramatic, very theatrical, very strong. Pialat puts together a plot to evoke emotions - every death scene is a mesmerizing performance. That last scene will stay with me for some time now.
After Sandrine Bonnaire kills herself the structure of the film loses its dichotomy which was, until nearly that point, represented in a parallel montage produced with subtlety and intelligence. The rest of the film is a boring, patronising climb up to an easy transcendence (that is never fully expressed in the shots, but only in the words). This is a very flawed movie. It's so easy to make a film about miracles...
Intriguing rather than engaging. Amidst the theological musing, one wonders whether the point is that the imagined immanence of evil in the world becomes increasingly significant as the priest experiences psychological pressure; or a direct theological position that Satan also has direct influence in the world; or whether social background influences one's ease or otherwise with ambiguity. Top screaming too.
Beautiful lighting throughout & I love Bonnaire and Depardieu in this, but the dialogue, for me, is oblique and too literature-heavy. The theatrical quality of the monological dialogues dampen the effect and/or the themes. Is it the French that does this? I'm not sure, but often I found myself wondering what was going on, what were the motives and interior forces behind the words. No one, of course, speaks like that.