Positioned somewhere between Bresson’s immortal Journal d’un curé de campagne and Dieterle’s The Devil and Daniel Webster, Maurice Pialat’s staggering Sous le soleil de Satan [Under the Sun of Satan] addresses the torrent of spiritual and intellectual turmoil unloosed among the denizens of a little country parish. It is a film by turns calm and violent, buoyant upon the tears of mercy and gurgling with the blood of the Lamb.
Gérard Depardieu (Loulou, Le Garçu) is the self-abasing curate tortured by questions about his role in God’s plan — before an encounter with a material Satan touches off a powerful revelation. At the crux of his vision is Sandrine Bonnaire (A nos amours., Police), the madly profligate sylph whose fate ruptures in a blast of gunpowder and the slash of a razor. As events unfurl, Maurice Pialat himself provides witness as the seasoned cleric who pronounces the words: “God wears us down.”
One of the great films of faith made by a non-believer, Sous le soleil de Satan left an indelible mark on spectators from the very moment of its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987 — where it won the Palme d’Or for Best Film. The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to present Maurice Pialat’s soul-shaking Sous le soleil de Satan on DVD in the UK for the first time.