Under the Sun of Satan ★★★½

Diary of a Self-Mortifying Priest

Didn't catch Georges Bernanos in the credits, but naming a character Mouchette and having a priest that can be seen writing twice helps a lot in creating a frame of reference for what Pialat is going for. But while Bresson is all about the internal struggle, Pialat makes this about the external struggle, as Father Donissan is literally confronted with perhaps not one but two devils (one of which is awkwardly homophobic). My strong Catholic background proved helpful for understanding how and why Donissan becomes obsessed with the external world instead of the spirit, almost like an anti-St. Augustine. He is a character obsessed with the body and seeing it as some sort of punishment (love the mud stains that grow more and more on his wardrobe). Compared to the freneticism of We Won't Grow Old Together and L'Enfance Nue, frames are more contained and a bit more controlled in their fights of will power throughout. Structurally all over the place, but does break down into six or seven major set pieces, though not particularly sure what to make of Mouchette's role as a seductress who also carries her own (accidental?) pain, though Sandrine Bonnaire gives her all to the role no matter what is called for. A film worth pondering at least.

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