13 November 2011
This 1967 french film by Robert Bresson is based on Georges Bernanos’ novel entitled Nouvelle Histoire de Mouchette (1937). I saw this with my twin on a Sunday morning in exchange of listening to 60′s music or attending Sunday mass. Before I had to go out and watch some films at the Italian Film Festival (which I shall blog on later..).
Starring Nadine Nortier as Mouchette,this film tells us the story of a young girl living in a French rural village whose life gets harder and harder as she enters adolescence. Her father and brother who’s always drunk, and her mother dying from cancer, Mouchette struggles to keep herself standing in these unfortunate situations.
Mouchette (which apparently means little fly), is weird and awkward. But her sad life and face, which makes it even more believable whenever she cries silently, sort of represents us as a whole. As Ruthless Reviews puts it:
Her plight, then, becomes the plight of us all; a parable for the world entire, filled as it is with injustice, boorishness, and incivility. As Joan of Arc before her, she is martyr incarnate, and the assault on innocence and decency makes fools and cowards of us all.
This is my first chance encounter with a Bresson film. Set in black and white, I am expecting a sort of a Vittorio De Sica setting of injustice. But Bresson’s Mouchette has proved that his is quite far original. He puts us kindhearted folks into a long, and straining “awwwwwwwww” moment before the end of the film wherein, every suffering that our little heroine has endured finally ends in a splash.
Each scene in which we expect this little girl to at least shed a little happiness in her eyes is being taken away by yet another sad result. Oh and yes, if you have seen The Dreamers, this one’s the last clip shown before that film ends with an unsuccessful suicide attempt from Isabelle (played by Eva Green).
February 12, 2011
I saw this film about a year ago but chose to watch it again for this list last night. What attracts me most about this movie is the fact that Marlon Brando is in it (thanks to my sister’s heavy influence to me regarding Brando’s existence) and for the fact that I like Maria Schneider’s fashion sense (and her hair) and because it’s a Bertolucci film.
A young Frenchwoman begins a sensual affair with a widowed, middle-aged American businessman whom lays out the grounds that they won’t reveal their names, talk about almost anything without providing any details about their identities in real life, and their relationship be mostly concentrated on sex. Marlon Brando (Streetcar Named Desire) plays the middle-aged american, Maria Schneider (The Passenger) plays Jeane, also stars Jean- Pierre Leaud (The 400 Blows) as Tom, Jeane’s artsy-actor boyfriend.
This film is unlikely famous because of the butter scene wherein Brando shoves in a chunkful of butter into Schneider’s rear in which she confesses in an interview that the scene was real, and that she felt raped and manipulated by both Bertolucci and Brando. But according to Brando’s autobiographer Patricia Bosworth’s book, he and Schneider remained friends until his death in July 2004. He thought of Schneider as a daughter-slash-sister(which I thought was a bit creepy especially in one scene wherein he was giving Jeane a bath) and they were said to have had a really good friendship.
I fell asleep towards the end but I watched it again though as I woke up. For art aficionados, Francis Bacon’s works are shown in the opening credits, too. For Paris enthusiasts, most of the scenes are centered on beautiful Parisian bridgewalks. For gore-lovers, there’s a scene wherein Brando talks to his dead wife and where the clean-up lady cleans the bathroom where his wife killed himself. For french-learning, english-speaking peeps, be sure to switch on the subtitles for english because most of the conversations (no matter how American Brando sounds like) are in french.