Director: Robert Bresson
Starring: Nadine Nortier, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Maria Cardinal, Paul Hebert
Duration: 78 min.
Mouchette is a young teenager with a hard life. Her mother is on her deathbed, and her alcoholic father abuses her. One night in the woods, she meets Arsène, an illegal poacher and who lives in the village. He thinks he has just killed Mathieu, the local gamekeeper. So he tries to use Mouchette to build an alibi.
Mouchette is the eighth feature film by Robert Bresson and his second one based on a novel by Georges Bernanos, after Diary of a Country Priest. Crafted in his usual style, and serving as somewhat of a companion piece to Au hasard Balthazar, released the previous year, Mouchette is a tragic tale of innocence lost.
Though the suffering on display is just as abundant in this film, our main character doesn't just sit idly and take it, futile as it may be, we get to see Mouchette act out against the world in her own little ways. Slinging clumps of dirt at the popular girls in school, stomping through puddles and tracking the mud into church, and wiping her shoes caked with mud on her rich neighbor's expensive rug.
We even get to see an exhilarating scene of joy, albeit a brief one, as she rides the bumper cars at the local fair. Smiles, laughter, and upbeat rock and roll music feel so alien in a Bresson film. But this is what makes Mouchette a superior piece to Au hasard Balthazar in my eyes, no matter how down trodden or depressing the life, surely there are a few even fleeting moments of happiness to be had. This also makes the tragedies more affecting when they occur.