Under the Sun of Satan
(Sous le soleil de Satan)
Imported 35mm Print!
A chamber work of the harshest beauty.Film Society of Lincoln Center
Palme d'or, Cannes
Gérard Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, Maurice Pialat, Alain Artur,
The story of a priest (Depardieu), haunted equally by doubts and his own power, and dogged by Satan. Pialat is fearless in this beautiful, intense film about a man whose "cassock scares people." Depardieu's Father Donissan, a peasant by nature and birth, reveals his sufferings to his superior, a man for whom the cloth is a creature comfort (he is played by a cool Pialat). Such debate may be ageless, but Sandrine Bonnaire reminds us that we are in the present, as Mouchette, a girl both desired and despised, and a murderer, who is always shot in a golden light; she delivers an extraordinary monologue about lies and the self. For "seeing through" Mouchette's soul, Donissan is banished to a peasant parish, home again. Pialat adapted a novel by Bernanos, an author more famously filmed by Bresson (Diary of a Country Priest). If the hero's struggle here is similar, Pialat's is not. This is a film about character and class, behaviors and lies, the spoken, not the written word.