|THE SIN OF FATHER MOURET (THE DEMISE OF FATHER MOURET/LA FAUTE DE L'ABBE MOURET) (director/writer: Georges Franju; screenwriters: Jean Ferry/based on the novel by Emile Zola; cinematographer: Marcel Fradetal ; editor: Gilbert Natot; music: Jean Wiener; cast: Francis Huster (Serge Mouret), Gillian Hills (Albine), André Lacombe (Archangias), Margo Lion (La Teuse), Lucien Barjon (Barberousse), Fausto Tossi (Jeanbernat), Tino Carraro (Dr. Pascal); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Véra Belmont; Images Film Library; 1970-France-in French with English subtitles)|
|"Its retelling of Genesis
by Dennis Schwartz
on the anti-clerical 1875 novel by Emile Zola. The
idiosyncratic French filmmaker Georges Franju
("Spotlight on Murder"/"Eyes Without A
Face"/"Judex") is the director and writer of this
provocative surreal tale that takes a few bizarre
turns in tragedy.
Mouret (Francis Huster) is
the new young parish priest for the rural village of
Artauds. The villagers are not interested in
religion. The frail young priest becomes
obsessed with the newly arrived statue of the Madonna
for the church. His ribald thoughts over the Virgin
Mary leads him to openly show a physical
passion for the young niece (Gillian Hills)
of a local atheist. Like in Adam and Eve, a garden
becomes the site where the delicate priest desires the
tempting innocent young nymph. The priest's
fascination about pleasure in an amoral world blends
together with his beliefs in religious dogma. But the
lust unleashed in the garden dooms the couple and
leads to the girl's suicide, as she smothers herself
to death with calla lilies and joyfully
dies in her bedroom. It also causes the demise of the
priest when he's confronted over his forbidden actions
by his strict boss (André Lacombe).
Its retelling of Genesis is bold, subversive, cartoonish and dangerously absurd. It's a unique film from a master of sublime realism, whose visions are pointedly in favor of fulfilling one's carnal desires no matter the outcome.
REVIEWED ON 10/12/2015 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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