Close Up

18 July 2018: Mouchette


Robert Bresson
1967 | 78 min | B/W | 35mm
French with English subtitles

"Mouchette is Bresson’s second adaptation from Bernanos and another tale of the trials of life in a small French town. The young Mouchette must face at an early age her father’s alcoholism and her mother’s invalidism. The film lays out, succinctly and crisply, the cruelty and barrenness of her life in Bresson’s rigorously objective style. While he had used voice-over narration to provide access to the thoughts of Bernanos’ country priest, here the spectator can only infer Mouchette’s thoughts through her physical reactions to her trials. This approach risks heartlessness, but in fact, few films capture so movingly the sheer fragility of being. In one justly famous sequence, Mouchette finds a few moments of happiness at a bumper-car ride. She is simultaneously beset and in control; the shocks are salutary." – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our Jacques Rancière programme