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Sous le soleil de Satan(1987)
Donissan is a 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 Mouchette, the madly profligate sylph whose fate ruptures in a blast of gunpowder and the slash of a razor. As events unfurl, the director himself provides witness as Menou-Segrais the seasoned cleric who pronounces the words: “God wears us down.”
For more about Sous le soleil de Satan and the Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray release, see Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Director: Maurice Pialat
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, Maurice Pialat
» See full cast & crew
Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 21, 2013
Winner of the prestigious Palme d'Or Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Maurice Pialat's "Sous le soleil de Satan" a.k.a "Under the Sun of Satan" (1987) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label Gaumont. The supplemental features on the disc include the film's original theatrical trailer; new video interview with production designer Katia Wyszkop; interview with cinematographer Willy Kurant; video interview with Gerard Depardieu; standard making of featurette; deleted and extended scenes presented by Sylvie Pialat, film editor Yann Dedet, and director Cedric Kahn; archival footage from the Cannes Film Festival; two short films directed by Maurice Pialat; and more. In French, with optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-Free.
The young priest, Donissan (Maitresse, Going Places), often looks up and asks questions that no one answers. The silence makes him uneasy. The pain gives him the strength to keep on believing and reminds him that he is still alive.
Occasionally, the priest occasionally talks to his superior, Dean Menou-Segrais (Pialat himself), about God and his plan for him. He is convinced that he must serve Him, but does not know how. While waiting for a sign that will guide him he suffers, and eventually wonders whether He is listening to his children.
On his way to a nearby monastery, Donissan is approached by a middle-aged man. They talk and the man tries to kiss him. Then the man reveals to him that he has wanted to meet him for some time. He heard Donissan's words and they intrigued him, his pain attracted him. Now the man is here to test him. When Donissan rejects him, the man calmly announces that until his last breath Donisan will often fondle him, thinking that he is fondling the other.
Meanwhile, a young and beautiful girl (Sandrine Bonnaire, A nos amours, La Cérémonie) returns to her older lover to tell him that she is carrying his child. He tries to talk to her, but she immediately senses that his words are insincere and kills him.
Soon after, Donissan and the beautiful girl meet. They talk and he sees that her soul is hurting. Without realizing, Donissan gives her the strength to make an important decision.
Under the Sun of Satan is undoubtedly Maurice Pialat's most complex film. Based on Georges Bernanos' novel, it is a bold examination of the nature of man and the role faith has in it. The film is impressively well balanced, which guarantees that it will appeal to both believers and non-believers.
The young priest, played beautifully by Depardieu, faces three different tests throughout the film. Two of these tests are linked to specific views about the balance of power between God and Satan in a world where man is supposedly in a perpetual state of confusion. The film does not promote any of them. It forces the viewer to consider them and ponder why they exist.
There is a third view which allows one to interpret the events in the film in a way that its late creator, a self-professed atheist, favored. It suggests that the beginning and the end of man's life come naturally, and that what happens in between is not predetermined. Each of the three views, however, is questioned with tremendous honesty, and by the time the final credits roll one gets the impression that religion and atheism may not indeed be polar opposites.
Depardieu is terrific as the young priest looking for answers. There is one specific sequence where he is alone in his room whipping himself that is absolutely stunning. It is short, but it is guaranteed to spur all sorts of different reactions amongst different viewers. Bonnaire also leaves a memorable impression as the young mistress of a wealthy man who has used her. Pialat is convincing as the calm and reasonable Father Menou-Segrais.
Under the Sun of Satan was lensed by cinematographer Willy Kurant (Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin Féminin, Serge Gainsbourg's Je Taime Moi Non Plus). Very cold but natural blues, grays, and browns are the prominent colors throughout most of the film.
Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Maurice Pialat's Under the Sun of Satan arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French label Gaumont.
Under the Sun of Satan looks as impressive as the other two Pialat films from the latest batch of Gaumont Blu-rays (Police and We Won't Grow Older Together). Struck from a newly restored master, the high-definition transfer boasts excellent depth and consistent clarity. The blue-filtered sequence where Donissan meets Satan, in particular, looks dramatically stronger than it does on Eureka Entertainment's R2 DVD relase - there is better depth and shadow definition is visibly improved. Overall image stability is also far superior. Furthermore, there are no traces of excessive degraining corrections. Problematic sharpening corrections have not been applied either. As a result, the film has a very stable organic look. Color reproduction is also far more convincing. There is a wide range of lush but natural blues, grays, browns, and greens. There are no compression anomalies. Finally, there are absolutely no large cuts, debris, scratches, or warps. All in all, this is yet another very strong release from Gaumont that should make Pialat fans enormously happy. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location. For the record, there is no problematic PAL or 1080/50i content preceding the disc's main menu).
Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray disc: French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. For the record, Gaumont have provided optional English and French SDH subtitles for the main feature.
Under the Sun of Satan is primarily a dialog-driven feature without a prominent music score. Needless to say, dynamic intensity throughout the film is modest at best. Random sounds and noises are well enhanced, but they will not make an impression on those of you who enjoy aggressive lossless tracks. This being said, the dialog is exceptionally clean, very crisp, and stable. The English translation is excellent.
Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Sous le soleil de Satan Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I have nothing but praise for Gaumont's Blu-ray releases of Maurice Pialat's films. Every single one of them has been of exceptionally high quality, boasting beautiful high-definition transfers and outstanding supplemental features to compliment them. Under the Sun of Satan, arguably Pialat's most complex film, has also transitioned to Blu-ray in spectacular fashion. It was such a treat to revisit this film in high-definition. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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• Three More Maurice Pialat Films Heading to Blu-ray - December 2, 2012
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