Bresson. Bresson. Bresson. He who has a status so high in cinematic circles, it could lead some to reject his work as mere collective delusion. Film has this problem and Film people more so. They idolise and fetishize some film makers and films as if they are god like. Film people also reject the past for the future or the contrarian for the broad. MOUCHETTE is not an easy film. It is a deeply intelligent exploration of a child coming to an age of enlightenment and pain.

Mouchette mother is dying, her father is an alcoholic, and so she must be her baby brothers carer and her own educator. Mouchette spends time with herself. She revels in the trees and the water. Bresson examines with a natural, non intrusive manner. We know this. We also know that the fringes of life are his stock and trade. Emotional truths and painful reality interlock human experience and Bresson wants us to swim in its sea.

Au hasard Bresson, the documentary on the disc from 1967, seems to extrapolate this in a very effective way. Bresson wanted to replay life. Remove film gloss. Film veneer. Strip it down. Naturalise it. Yes, film fans know all of this. What is less spoken of is his empathetic look at us. His protagonist are trapped in this mortal coil. Tony Rayns commentary speaks about MOUCHETTE in these terms. Doing a great service to the film as he does.


4K can sometimes flop and sometimes flip a film. My old DVD of this, had clarity and punch. The new Criterion makes a case for bolder blacks, deeper focus and softer skin shades. All good and for film fans, all pertinent. Though it is a jump and not a leap, it is a desired one for Bresson lovers and film schools everywhere.


I already mentioned the great Tony Rayns and Au hasard Bresson. Both excellent. But for once I want to signify a really exceptional essay. It is from poet Robert Polito. It appeared before but here it has a emotional resonance. Polito touches on our response to the work. Fusing how Bresson saw the human spirit. Our engagement. Our feeling. The range is vast. The focus pinpointed and life affirming.

• New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
• Audio commentary from 2006 by film scholar, critic, and festival programmer Tony Rayns
• Au hasard Bresson, a 1967 documentary by Theodor Kotulla, featuring director Robert Bresson on the set of Mouchette
• Segment of a 1967 episode of the French television series Cinéma, featuring on-set interviews with Bresson and actors Nadine Nortier and Jean-Claude Guilbert
• Original theatrical trailer, cut by Jean-Luc Godard
• PLUS: An essay by critic and poet Robert Polito

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