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Mouchette (The Criterion Collection) (1970)

Nadine Nortier , Jean-Claude Guilbert , Robert Bresson , Theodor Kotulla  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nadine Nortier, Jean-Claude Guilbert, Marie Cardinal, Paul Hebert, Jean Vimenet
  • Directors: Robert Bresson, Theodor Kotulla
  • Writers: Robert Bresson, Georges Bernanos
  • Producers: Anatole Dauman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 16, 2007
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K0YLX2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #184,004 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mouchette (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Commentary by film scholar, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
  • "Au hasard Bresson," a half-hour documentary about the director, including behind-the-scenes scenes footage of Bresson directing Mouchette
  • "Travelling," a segment from the cine-magazine TV series Cinema, 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
  • Booklet with a new essay by essayist Robert Polito

Editorial Reviews

"Robert Bresson plumbs great reservoirs of feeling with Mouchette, one of the most searing portraits of human desperation ever put on film. Faced with a dying mother, an absent, alcoholic father, and a baby brother in need of care, the teenage Mouchette seeks solace in nature and daily routine, a respite from her economic and pubescent turmoil. An essential work of French filmmaking, Bresson's hugely empathetic drama elevates its trapped protagonist into one of the cinema's great tragic figures. Part of the Criterion Collection. "

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fragments of a life (without story or plot) February 6, 2007
Format:DVD
I'm not sure that what is most unique and remarkable about Bresson is his "spiritual style," as it is often described. One might say that by showing life in all its harshness his work opens the viewer to a vision of its "fallen state" and to the way in which a kind of grace is exhibited in the stubborn refusal of his central characters to cave in to the ways of the world even in the face of harsh adversity. (Even here, Mouchette's final seemingly tragic act is shown to be in many ways a joyous one, the work of a child at play, whose counterpart in the film is the exuberant bumper car ride, where she laughs and flirts even as she is jolted and tossled about by the shock of being continuously smashed by other cars). Still, what seems most distinctive about his films is not so much the subject matter as the deliberate lack of pretense in its style, which amounts almost to a kind of refusal to let himself as filmmaker or storytelling conventions intrude on the blunt portrayal of life.

While you can certainly reconstruct the events portrayed in this film in terms of a standard plot structure, Bresson seems unwilling to plot out the story of Mouchette; in an interview contained on this dvd he says to a reporter that if he could sum up what happens to Mouchette it would be absurd to make a movie of it. He aims only to give the essentials, showing no more than what is absolutely necessary, with the implication that as viewers we feel as though the world we are shown piecemeal is much bigger and more complete than what we are permitted to see.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A grim, moving and superb film July 14, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I'd seen a bunch of Bresson films before I ever heard of Mouchette, and had always regarded him as the director who, while I wouldn't necessarily want to watch his films to the exclusion of anyone else's, speaks to what's best in me; Bresson's work has an uncompromising directness that no other film-maker has ever matched, in my experience. Watching his films, you feel that something is being imparted to you that you needed to know; in this respect, he's utterly unlike the vast majority of directors, who seek merely to provide diversion and laffs. His influence on Scorsese, Fassbinder and Kaurismaki is undeniable, and Paul Schrader has blatantly ripped him off on more than one occasion (though we forgive Schrader because he is himself such a good director).
Mouchette is not the most famous of Bresson's films but it's one of the best I've seen - though admittedly this is misleading, as most of Bresson's films after the late 40s are masterpieces. Mouchette's life is almost unrelentingly awful; her mother is dying, and most of her verbal contact with Mouchette consists of orders to look after the baby and get her some more gin; her father takes whatever money she earns, and her brother never says anything at all. She lives in a grotty village in a totally unattractive-looking part of Provence, where the local boys have nothing better to do than drop their pants in her direction, and where her sole recreation is throwing mud at her schoolmates. Nadine Nortier, one of a string of non-professional actors to be burdened with carrying a Bresson movie, is stunning as the teenaged Mouchette. Few cinematic leading ladies have been so utterly unglamorous.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Mouchette is without any doubt one of the best films ever made or to be made. In almost sacral serenity it shows us the last three days of the life of a twelve year old very poor village girl. Mouchette survives in the strenght of her character and soul, even when we have to watch her commit suicide. I remember, in the seventies Mrs.Susan Sonntag appriciated this film very much. The story cannot be told by its plot, because it is the most original way of filmmaking Bresson invented, that makes us understand, what happenes to Mouchette. There is nothing comparable to Bressons work, which is deeply transcendental. It has religious impact and surves us with great precision.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars from Shirley Jackson to Jim Thompson June 11, 2003
By Yumi
Format:VHS Tape
The first scene is of a bird caught in a snare fluttering madly to escape, then a hand rescues the bird and lets it free.
Bresson depicts the utter malice than can lay behind a rural community to the abject meanness of poverty.

Asked to sing along in school, her voice was pretty until she hit the high notes and then she was ostracized by her teacher. What was there ever in her life to sing about? Altho at home, doing her chores her voice shines with sweetness

And her only moment of joy on the amusement park car flirting with possibly the only smile in her life, taken away in exchange for a night with a poacher.

It's amazing how her everyday face is a frown, except when she is tending to her dying mother when her face is beautifically transformed to absolute love and adoration.

And I don't believe Bresson asks you to feel sorry for her. He is just showing us.
Mouchette finally needs to confess something to her mother, possibly the only time she has asked for help or advice but at that moment , her mother dies.
That day, an old lady in town gives mouchette a shroud for her mother and a beautiful dress, the kind you might wear to confirmation or a baptism. She has had only had tattered rags and ill fitting clunky shoes all her life.
Altho my description may sound melodramatic, the movie is not.It doesn't try to play on your emotions.
The last scene is haunting and unforgettable.
This is a most beautiful movie.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Film with Brilliant Extras on this DVD
Naturally this is a brilliant film. If you can't see it on the screen, this is a pretty close second. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Karl P.
4.0 out of 5 stars A day in the life of...
Robert Bresson's adaptation of Georges Bernanos novel, `Mouchette', is a film that will quietly sneak up on you, mostly because of the brilliant performance by the young lead,... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Andrew Ellington
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
The reason the film does succeed, and rises to greatness, rests primarily on the shoulders of the lead actress, Nadine Nortier, who, despite little dialogue, conveys great depths... Read more
Published on September 1, 2010 by Cosmoetica
5.0 out of 5 stars Bar none, my favorite Bresson film
Robert Bresson distills the superficial portrait of the archetypal gamin in order to derive the indelibly bleak and caustic cinematic image of Mouchette. Read more
Published on January 6, 2010 by Le_Samourai
3.0 out of 5 stars Minimalist to the point of dullness
The Bottom Line:

After seeing and loving A Man Escaped I got really excited about Bresson but two films later (Pickpocket and this one) I'm not convinced that the first... Read more
Published on December 31, 2009 by One-Line Film Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss the commentary and a chance to view Bresson at work!
Mouchette is on TIME magazine's best 100 films and it is one of only 13 films by Robert Bresson, French film director with a style that is easily identifiable. Read more
Published on December 29, 2009 by ⚫ RIZZO ⚫
3.0 out of 5 stars Mouchette....
I love Bresson's films! Let's get that out of the way please.

I appreciate his vague sentimentality that he projects in his work. Read more
Published on July 31, 2009 by M.
5.0 out of 5 stars Mouchette
Based on a novel by George Bernanos, "Mouchette" is a sad, deceptively simple tale of a peasant girl whose misfortunes multiply and eventually lead her to an especially grim fate. Read more
Published on June 28, 2007 by John Farr
5.0 out of 5 stars mouchette is living a hard knock life
mouchette throws dryed mud balls at her classmates , her life is all about caring for her bed ridden mother with beast cancer, also caring for her mothers baby , her father drives... Read more
Published on May 25, 2007 by Robert L. Christlieb
2.0 out of 5 stars Lazy Filmmaking
I was quite disappointed with this film. The director used some non-actors to play some of the parts, and it shows. Also, the editing and camera work is shoddy. Read more
Published on March 30, 2007 by Jack M. Walter
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