Maurice Pialat made UNDER THE SUN OF SATAN (Sous le soleil de Satan) toward the end of his 44-year career, and the film exhibits nearly everything that fans love and detractors call out about this divisive French filmmaker. The film proves episodic and rather clunky (smoothness of any kind appears not to have been among Pialat's filmmaking characteristics), yet it deals with subjects so interesting and appealing/appalling -- god, the devil, faith, religion and miracles -- that it is difficult not to become, well, pretty quickly hooked.
Gérard Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, and the director himself (shown at left) who plays one of the three leads with impressive seriousness and strength. The film is based on a novel by Georges Bernanos, which was adapted by for the screen by Pialat and Sylvie Pialat, his wife. Not having read the novel I have little idea how true the Pialats were to the original, but what has come out is a film about a very odd priest named Donissan (Depardieu, shown on poster, top, and below ), his vocation and career as, it turns out, some kind of miracle worker.
The religious talk/philosophy is interesting but not terribly memorable. And the reactions of Donissan's parishioners to him and his healing powers seem pretty typical of any congregation exposed to "the Lazarus effect."
TrustMovies joins the latter camp, but due to the strength of the three lead performances (the rest of the cast comes off well, too), he did not find it difficult to stick with and enjoy the film on one level, at least.
Cohen Film Collection, Under the Sun of Satan -- running just 98 minutes and carrying the series title of The Film of Maurice Pialat, Volume 2 -- offers a Blu-ray featuring a very good transfer as a two-disc set, the first featuring the film itself, with the second disc containing a wealth of interviews. Both Blu-ray and DVD are available this coming Tuesday, June 14 -- for purchase or rental.