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.

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