Ingmar Bergman on Mouchette
The following is an excerpt from Conversation with Bergman, a long
interview with Ingmar Bergman conducted by John Simon, and published
in John Simon's book Ingmar Bergman Directs, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
1972, ISBN 0-15-644360-0. The interview/conversation is found on pages 11–40, the
below fragment is located on pages 27–28.
JOHN SIMON: What about Bresson? How do you feel about him?
INGMAR BERGMAN: Oh, Mouchette! I loved it, I loved it!
But Balthazar was so boring, I slept through it.
I liked Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne and A Man Escaped,
but I would say The Diary of a Country Priest is the best one.
I have seen it four or five times and could see it
again... and Mouchette... really...
That film doesn't do anything for me.
No? You see, now I'll tell you something about
Mouchette. It starts with a friend who sees the girl
sitting and crying, and Mouchette says to the camera, how
shall people go on living without me, that's all. Then you
see the main titles. The whole picture is about that.
She's a saint and she takes everything upon herself, inside
her, everything that happens around her. That makes such an
enormous difference that such people live among us. I don't
believe in another life, but I do think that some people are
more holy than others and make life a little bit easier to
endure, more bearable. And she is one, a very, very simple
one, and when she has assumed the difficulties of other
human beings, she drowns herself in a stream. That is my
feeling, but this Balthazar, I didn't understand a word of
it, it was so completely boring.
But, you could almost say the same thing about the donkey,
that when the donkey has taken on other people's suffering...
A donkey, to me, is completely uninteresting, but a
human being is always interesting.
Do you like animals in general?
No, not very much. I have a completely natural aversion for them.