|UNDER THE SUN OF SATAN (SOUS LE SOLEIL DE SATAN) (director: Maurice Pialat; screenwriters: Sylvie Pilat/novel by Georges Bernanos; cinematographer: Willy Kurant; editor: Yann Dedet; music: Henri Dutilleux; cast: Gerard Depardieu (Father Donissan), Sandrine Bonnaire (Mouchette), Maurice Pialat (Menou-Segrais), Alain Artur Gallet (Cadignan); Runtime: 98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Daniel Toscan du Plantier; Alive Films; 1987-France-in French with English subtitles)|
|"It works as an intense
meditation on faith, despair and evil."
by Dennis Schwartz
Pialat ("Police"/"Loulou"/"To Our
Loves") directs an austere religious film adapted from
the 1926 novel of Georges Bernanos.
Co-writers Pialat and his wife Sylvie keep it
Catholic, solemn, ascetic and uncompromising. It works
as an intense meditation on faith, despair and evil.
Depardieu plays the troubled religious zealot,
Father Donissan, who cannot relate to the common
secular concerns of his congregation. He expresses
gratitude to his father superior,
Menou-Segrais (Maurice Pialat),
for admitting him into the parish ministry despite his
poor scholastic aptitude for the seminary.
But despises him for not being more spiritually
aggressive. Father Donissan has
a love-hate relationship with the intellectually
gifted senior priest. He feels this assignment doesn't
suit his personality and has asked the archbishop for
a transfer to a Trappist monastery.
Donissan gets a chance to test his own
ethical standards while dealing with a roadside
encounter with the Devil, a counseling session with
the pregnant amoral murderess teen Mouchette (Sandrine
Bonnaire), and, to test his beliefs, he accepts
a challenge to see if he can raise a deceased child
from the dead.
remarkable film for those of the austere religious
Bresson ilk, but is not for everyone.
won the Golden Palm at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 10/22/2015 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ