Sous Le Soleil de Satan aka Under the Sun of Satan, adapted (with others) and directed by Maurice Pialat
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
Dossignan is a saintly figure.
Tempted by the devil, sure, but a role model nevertheless…
- For those who run from the devil and wait for the Messiah, of course
Otherwise, we could say that he exaggerates.
Even his dean says so:
- You try too much
- I am humble
- You think I am lazy and you despise me
This is one of the first dialogues, albeit not in these words.
Menou- Segrais is splendidly portrayed by Maurice Pialat, who is also the director and one of the three authors of the screenplay.
Gerard Depardieu is wonderful in the role of the haunted, absorbed, humble, determined father Dossignan.
These were the days when he was a great actor and not yet a citizen of Putin’s Russia and a heavy drinker causing trouble in airplanes
- My American Uncle, The Last Metro, Danton, Jean de Florette, Cyrano de Bergerac, Get Out Your Handkerchiefs and so many more
These are just some of the magnificent roles in which Depardieu has been magnificent.
And a number of these films have become masterpieces, included among the best art works ever made
- Mon Oncle d’Amerique is included on this list, here: http://entertainment.time.com/2005/02/12/all-time-100-movies/slide/all/
Dossignan is dedicating himself completely to God and His work.
Dissatisfied with his own efforts, he punishes himself and exerts pain on his body, using techniques that send him to the ground.
He is using self- flagellation.
Nathaniel Branden has said in The Psychological Effects of Religion that religious belief has severe consequences.
Looking at what Dossignan does to himself, one could not argue with that, until the apparent miracle, which might be just a medical condition, easily explained…
Or maybe not…
We have another very good actress, Sandrine Bonnaire in the role of Mouchette, a teenager who lies so much that I no longer know if her real age is sixteen as she claims at one point, or close to eighteen as she states at another.
If Dossignan is a zealot, trying to become as pure as possible, Mouchette- in the eyes of evangelists at least- appears to be a lost soul, a debauched girl, involved with two married men, one of whom she shoots early on in the film.
When Dossignan meets with the “sinful girl”, he obviously makes the effort to save her from the devil, as he even tries to bring a child back from…the dead.
The priest himself meets with Satan, or he just has a nightmare or a few, I am not sure, but it is all taking place:
- Sous Le Soleil de Satan
The dialogue is excellent as it is only evident right from the start, with meaningful themes like religion, temptation, values, purity, sin and so many more:
- Donissan: God is mocking me.
- Donissan: With you, everything looks easy. Alone, I'm useless. I'm like the zero, only useful next to other numbers. Priests are so miserable. They waste their lives seeing God being ignored. People make jokes on us. We're like those walls where people write obscenities.
- Menou-Segrais: You're tired.
- Donissan: Tired? I'm not tired. Tired is a bad thought.
- Menou-Segrais: Suspend your visits.
- Donissan: Those visits do more harm than good. In the beginning, I didn't know evil. I learned it from the mouths of the sinners.
- Menou-Segrais: No one knows better than a priest about the terrible monotony of sin.
- Donissan: I can't speak to them. I can't only make absolutions and feel sorry.
- Menou-Segrais: If one absolution in thirty was worthy, the world would be brief.
But there may be Redemption after all these doubts…