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Mouchette Criterion Blu-ray Review

“Mouchette” is a tragic drama.

Based on the novel by Georges Bernanos and written and directed for the screen by Robert Bresson, “Mouchette” follows the heartbreaking life of the titular teen girl character. Mouchette is a lonely, angry, poor, teenage girl who just wants to be a kid and have fun. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be an option for her. She spends her days caring for her dying mother and looking after her baby brother. Her father never seems to be around and when he is he is nothing short of cruel to her. Outside of her home life, things aren’t much better as she has no friends and is often harshly judged by local folks. I won’t say where the story goes, but viewers can expect to see storylines involving a drunk epileptic poacher (Arsene) and a gamekeeper (Mathieu).

While undoubtedly a powerful piece of French cinema from the renowned Robert Bresson, 1967’s “Mouchette” isn’t exactly the best movie to watch in the punishing year that is 2020. It’s a dark, soul crushing and ultimately hopeless movie about agony, loss (of childhood, one’s self and others), fate, and family. With that said, the film sadly feels as timely as ever with the themes of bullying, depression, internalized emotions, and poverty continuing to be issues for teenagers (and people of all ages). No one can deny though that Bresson tapped into a very universal story here even with the arty style, minimal dialogue, and symbolic moments (the traps, the bumper cars).

Performance wise, this is mostly Mouchette’s movie and actress Nadine Nortier is certainly up to the task of making this challenging character come to life. She manages to say so much without saying much at all with her expressions and actions. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.66:1 1080p. How does it look? Aside from a couple print flaws, the 4K digital restoration of this B&W film is largely pristine.

Audio Track: French Uncompressed Mono. How does it sound? Expect a nice crisp Mono track.
Extras:
* A “Mouchette” trailer by Jean-Luc Godard
* A booklet featuring credits and an essay by author Robert Polito.
* An episode of Cinema’s “Travelling” series featuring set footage and interviews with “Mouchette” cast and crew.
* A 31 minute short documentary about “Mouchette” featuring extensive behind-the-scenes footage from the set of “Mouchette.”
* An archival 2006 commentary by film scholar Tony Rayns

December 14, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Haven’t seen this one yet (I tend to like Robert Bresson). Thanks for the review!

    Comment by Eric Binford | December 14, 2020 | Reply


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