Bresson again, and once again it is really boring. The story is about Lancelot and how his fellow knights were jealous of his possession of Guinevere. The film is done in Bresson’s typical no bullshit manner with performances stripped of all emotion. However, it just doesn’t work. The film is atrociously boring.
Bresson is hit or miss. This film is a big miss.
Director Robert Bresson is a brilliant filmmaker, no one can deny that. I love his no bullshit style of movie making. However, he can be hit or miss. With films like Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Pickpocket (1959), and A Man Escaped (1956) he hits it out of the park. Then you get a few films like L’Argent (1983), Diary Of A Country Priest (1951), and this film, Mouchette. Now Mouchette isn’t bad like L’Argent, but more like the average Diary Of A Country Priest.
The film is about a teenage girl who lives with an alcoholic father and a terminally ill mother. All the students at school treat her like shit so she treats them the same way by throwing mud at them. When one day she gets stranded by the rain in the local wilderness she gets caught up in a quarrel between a poacher and a gamekeeper. Ultimately nothing really happens and she is sent back to her family to be told she is a bad girl and then called a slut by the rest of the community. The end of the movie is ambiguous. It’s really up to you whether or not you think she killed herself, but what you can’t deny is that she rolls into the water and appears to never come out.
The problem with the film is an inherent one with bare bones storytelling, we have to have a reason to care. Sure we kind of feel sorry for Mouchette, but to arouse the kind of emotions necessary for this story to really work, we have to love her. It’s not awful, but not average, approach it with caution.
Having seen 4 Robert Bresson films before this, I know what great films this man can produce. L’Argent is not one of them no matter what anybody tells you. It is dreadfully boring. It follows a similar no bullshit approach to story telling as A Man Escaped (1956), but instead of keeping us more engaged like in A Man Escaped it only makes us even less involved in the story then we already are. The film is about a man whose life goes on a downward spiral after being accused of passing counterfeit money. He didn’t know it was counterfeit. It was given to him by a shop that knew it was counterfeit because it had been passed it by a couple of kids and didn’t want to admit their mistake. This sounds like a good morality tale, but Bresson ruins it by not giving us any reason to care. When he becomes a murderer at the end of the film we don’t give rat’s ass. We’re just glad the film is over. Skip this one.