Mouchette [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [1967]

Robert Bresson directed this bleak tale of a fourteen-year-old girl growing up under horrific circumstances, which has been given a splendid presentation on DVD from the Criterion Collection. Mouchette has been transferred to disc in widescreen format; the image has been letterboxed at the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on conventional monitors, and has been enhanced for anamorphic play on 16x9 monitors. Ghislain Cloquet's cinematography is beautifully rendered here, with the disc featuring rich details and a gorgeous palate of gray tones. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the nuances of the sound mix are very impressive indeed in this edition. The dialogue is in English, with optional subtitles in English. Bonus materials include Au Hasard Bresson, a documentary on the making of the film which was shot while Mouchette was in production; a segment from a French television news magazine which profiled Bresson during the making of Mouchette and features interviews with the director as well as actors Nadine Nortier and Jean-Claude Guilbert; a trailer for the picture edited by Jean-Luc Godard; and a commentary track from author and film historian Tony Rayns. The booklet also includes an insightful essay on Mouchette by Robert Polito. Criterion has earned a well-deserved reputation as the label that sets the standard for DVD quality, and Mouchette is another example of a superb film given kid gloves treatment by their staff; anyone interested in the work of one of the giants of French cinema will want this disc in their collection.
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Overview

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by renowned film scholar, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
  • Au Hasard Bresson, a half-hour documentary about the director, including behind-the-scenes footage of Robert Bresson directing Mouchette
  • "Travelling," a segment from the cine-magazine TV series Cinéma, featuring on-set interviews with Bresson and actors Nadine Nortier and Jean-Claude Guilbert
  • Original theatrical trailer, cut by Jean-Luc Godard
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Plus: A new essay by writer Robert Polito

Synopsis

Mouchette
Robert Bresson directed this grim but moving story of a girl forced to grow up quickly due to the unfortunate circumstances which surround her. Mouchette (Nadine Nortier) is a fourteen year old girl living in a rural village in France; while it's the mid-1960's, in many respects her community looks as if it could still be World War II, or even the turn of the century, and a number of the men earn their living though poaching game. Mouchette's mother (Marie Cardinal) is slowly dying of an incurable illness, while her father (Paul Hebert) is a heavy drinker who shows little concern for his daughter, often using a hard shove as a parenting technique. Mouchette is an outcast at school, works odd jobs to help her family's meager circumstances, and has developed a thinly veiled contempt for most of those around her. One of the few places Mouchette feels at home is in the woods, and when a heavy storm breaks out while she's making her way home from school, she happens upon Arsene (Jean-Claude Guilbert), a poacher who allows her to stay in his cabin for the night; he forces himself upon her sexually, but after her initial resistance Mouchette seems to almost welcome his attention. When Mouchette is made party to an act of violence between Arsene and a rival gamekeeper, she's forced into a complicated lie, and after the death of her mother, her shabby existence becomes almost too much to bear. Based on a novel by Georges Bernanos, Mouchette was (like many of Robert Bresson's films) largely cast with non-professional actors, and shot using a deliberately simple, ascetic style; the result was honored with major awards at the Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival, and was named Best Film of 1967 (along with Luis Bunuel's Belle de Jour) by the French Syndicate of Cinema Critics. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Nadine Nortier - Mouchette
  • Image coming soon
    Jean-Claude Guilbert - Arsene
  • Image coming soon
    Maria Cardinal - Mother
  • Paul Hebert
    Paul Hebert - Father
  • Robert Bresson
    Robert Bresson
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