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Film poster
Directed by Robert Bresson
Produced by Anatole Dauman
Written by Robert Bresson
Starring Nadine Nortier
Jean-Claude Guilbert
Maria Cardinal
Paul Hebert
Music by Jean Wiener
Claudio Monteverdi
Cinematography Ghislain Cloquet
Editing by Raymond Lamy
Distributed by UGC / CFDC
Release date(s) October 26, 1967
Running time 78 min.
Country France
Language French

Mouchette is a 1967 French film directed by Robert Bresson, starring Nadine Nortier, and Jean-Claude Guilbert. It is based on the novel by Georges Bernanos. "Mouchette" means "little fly" in French. It was entered into the 1967 Cannes Film Festival, winning the OCIC Award (International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisual).[1]

Mouchette tells the story of a girl entering adolescence, the daughter of a bullying alcoholic father and ailing mother set in a rural French village. One stormy night Mouchette's world changes.

It is a coming of age film which Bresson portrays in his own unique style. According to Bresson, "Mouchette offers evidence of misery and cruelty. She is found everywhere: wars, concentration camps, tortures, assassinations."

The Criterion Collection DVD release includes a trailer for this film made by Jean-Luc Godard.



This is the tale of a young girl whose life is filled with tragedy. Mouchette (Nadine Nortier) lives in an isolated rural village with her alcoholic father and bedridden mother, where she is forced to take care of her infant brother and do all of the housework.

The film opens with the gamekeeper, Mathieu (Jean Vimenet), watching the poacher, Arsène (Jean-Claude Gilbert) as he sets his snares in the sunlit woods.

Mouchette is first introduced at her school, in bedraggled clothes and oversized clogs, where she is mocked by her classmates and chastised by her teacher for refusing to sing.

Later, in a contrast to the misery of her daily life, Mouchette's goes to the fair and rides on the bumper cars. She meets a young man and they flirt during the rides. Afterwards her father abruptly intervenes before she can speak to the boy.

Mouchette stands at the gate of the rides of the fair, looking at the people in the rides.

One evening on her way home from school, Mouchette is caught in the woods in a heavy rainstorm. She is found by Mr. Arsène (Jean-Claude Guilbert), an epileptic game poacher and drunkard. Unsure of whether he had just murdered a man, Arsène convinces Mouchette to stay with him, using her as an alibi. As she tries to leave, he overpowers her and rapes her by the fireplace. She returns home, where her sick mother dies in the night. Adding to her misery, she is called a slut by a store clerk who notices scratch marks on her chest. In the final act she decides to take her own life, rolling herself down a hill and into a river.


Besides his preference for non-professional actors, Bresson also liked to cast actors he had never used before. The one major exception is Jean-Claude Guilbert, who had the rôle of Arnold in Au hasard Balthazar, and plays Arsène in this film.[2]

Actor Role
Nadine Nortier Mouchette
Jean-Claude Guilbert Arsène
Marie Cardinal Mother
Paul Hebert Father
Jean Vimenet Mathieu
Marie Susini Mathieu's wife
Suzanne Huguenin Layer Out of the Dead
Marine Trichet Louisa
Raymonde Chabrun Grocer

Critical Reviews

Mouchette is considered as one of the best of Bresson's films by critics, along with Journal d'un curé de campagne.

Sight and Sound’s prestigious critics’ poll placed Mouchette in the top 20 in 1972.


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Mouchette". Retrieved 2009-03-10.  
  2. ^ Joseph Cunneen, "The Purity of Rebellion: Mouchette" Robert Bresson: A Spiritual Style in Film. New York: Continuum (2003): 118.

External links



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