Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
France, 1967. Argos Films, Parc Film. Screenplay by Robert Bresson, based on the novel by Georges Bernanos. Cinematography by Ghislain Cloquet. Produced by Anatole Dauman. Music by Jean Wiener. Production Design by Pierre Guffroy. Costume Design by Odette Le Barbenchon. Film Editing by Raymond Lamy. Cannes Film Festival 1967.
Robert Bresson brings his simple-right-down-to-the-elements style to a tale of a young woman in unforgiving circumstances. Mouchette lives in a home with a callous father, an ailing mother and a baby sibling; when she goes to school she is dirty and unkempt, and when hands reach out to help she reacts with vitriol. In one central sequence, she is cornered in a barn by a shady groundskeeper with whom she actually has one of her few consensual encounters. Bresson does his usual marvelous job of appearing invisible, presenting images without making rash judgments on his characters, though just how non-sensationalist the film is could be debated (does being poor and ignored mean it is impossible for her to comb her hair?) It has some moments of memorable beauty, but how you react to it depends on how much this filmmaker means to you in the first place.