Sign up for our newsletters   

Baltimore City Paper home.

film Home > Movie Reviews

Film Clips



Director:Robert Bresson
Cast:Nadine Nortier, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Maria Cardinal, Paul Hebert
Release Date:1967
Genre:Drama, Foreign

At the Charles Theatre at noon June 10, 7 p.m. June 12, and 9 p.m. June 15.

By Bret McCabe | Posted 6/7/2006

Perhaps not the mother of all downer movies—United 93’s re-created real may very well have changed the bummer movie for the American right now, if not all time—but definitely in any non-documentary top 10, Robert Bresson’s 1967 Mouchette starts off rough and never looks back. Teenage pixie Mouchette (the impossibly world-weary Nadine Nortier, her gamine adorability blunted as if she just spent a month’s toil in an abattoir) lives in the French countryside with her terminally ill mother and drunken lout father. Going to school in this small village is horrible; going home is even worse. And when she gets lost in the woods during a rainstorm and is cared for by a game poacher, he takes this opportunity to rape her. And that’s not even the worst day in her life. But unlike the female masochism in Breaking the Waves or Dancer in the Dark, Mouchette’s downward spiral isn’t purely manipulative, her social ostracism more a synecdoche for a disconnected, maladjusted society writ large for this profoundly Catholic director’s worldview. Yes, Mouchette does approach something that we inexorably call “spiritual” these days, but without the usual wallop of overbearing self-importance. And in this instance, such humility cuts to the very soul.

E-mail Bret McCabe

Comments powered by Disqus
CP on Facebook
CP on Twitter