ty/ler (lefauxmiroir) wrote,

in places of despair

To understand Robert Bresson's Mouchette is to know what utter despair feels like. Though not as metaphysical as Au Hasard Balthazar, Bresson has a gift with his filmmaking in that he has the ability to say so little verbally through his characters and make an unfumbling grab for your neck to tell you that this is the world, this is life!

No one knows because no one can sit through movies like this anymore, but though films like this are very of their time, their messages of human suffering transcend all time. Ultimately when we get to an era of post-post-posts and we're in space suits and bubble cars like the Jetsons, we'll still be looking for the things Mouchette was looking for, for what Tina Huxley rambled about in Waking Life, for the things all of the emotionally handicapped characters in Shortbus were looking for, for everything you and I are looking for today: acceptance and connection.

Also, like most of his films, Bresson seemingly wants you to "feel" rather than to get "get" his point. His sparse camera work will be lost on anyone that doesn't focus hard as he is subtle in his detailed storytelling. But he very much chose everything that was (or wasn't) included in his frame.

I remember that a year ago (maybe two now?), this film was in Time Magazine 100 Greatest Films of all time. I was a little annoyed that Au Hasard Balthazar wasn't included (I know, what the hell do lists matter?), but I hadn't even seen Mouchette yet except for the interploited clips in The Dreamers, and clearly I didn't get it. I kind of understand now what he was trying to achieve making these two films back to back and I've chosen to forgive Time.

To borrow a phrasing from Karen Walker, Mouchette hurts like a hangover. Its not that it resonated with me as I saw it two nights ago, but I woke up this morning and for no reason I kind of ached and all I could think about was Mouchette, profoundly fractured and desperate.
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