Under the Sun of Satan | Chicago Reader

Under the Sun of Satan

97 minutes

Maurice Pialat's high-powered adaptation of Georges Bernanos (whose fiction has previously provided the basis for two Bresson films) won the best film award at the Cannes film festival in 1987, which occasioned a great deal of controversy. A dark film both literally and figuratively, it follows the spiritual crisis of Father Donissan (Gerard Depardieu) and his curious relation to a young woman named Mouchette (Sandrine Bonnaire); Pialat himself plays the father superior. Uncompromisingly rigorous and harsh, Pialat's remarkable film isn't for every taste—acceptance of Bernanos' world isn't an easy matter—but it is certainly a major work by a major filmmaker, with one of Depardieu's strongest performances.

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