Under the Sun of Satan (1987)

TV-MA   |    |  Drama, Fantasy


Under the Sun of Satan (1987) Poster

A priest stuck in a rural congregation and burdened with his overwrought spirituality, finds purpose in a troubled woman accused of murder.


6.8/10
2,606

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  • Maurice Pialat in Under the Sun of Satan (1987)
  • Gérard Depardieu in Under the Sun of Satan (1987)
  • Gérard Depardieu in Under the Sun of Satan (1987)
  • Gérard Depardieu and Sandrine Bonnaire in Under the Sun of Satan (1987)
  • Sandrine Bonnaire in Under the Sun of Satan (1987)
  • Sandrine Bonnaire in Under the Sun of Satan (1987)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


31 May 2003 | paul_imseih
10
| Masterpiece of French Cinema
I'm not quite sure what people mean when they say this film is "difficult". On the surface, the film has a very straightforward storyline of a priest (played brilliantly and movingly by Depardieu) struggling with his own demons that materialise internally and externally.

From this basic premise the film can be explored from several key standpoints to obtain real insights into subjects such as the power/source of faith, the relationship between thought/belief and one's relationship to the world we inhabit.

Moreover, the questioning employed by Pialat and Depardieu means that the path of thought through these issues is profound, intense and disturbing. The film provokes the intellect constantly and I could understand that if there was nothing more to the film, one might say that "is that it?"

What takes this film much further is the emotional undercurrent - both understated and abyssal, the stunning cinematography and restrained direction. These factors combine to create a complete cinematic experience.

One scene stands out in this respect: we watch the priest wander the countryside in a daze and he pauses on the side of a hill, lush with spring grass. Depardieu looks up, eyes searching for insight, an answer, a response. In a brilliant stroke of luck, passing clouds obscure the sun and Depardieu instinctively internalises this shifting light with a simultaneous passing of emotion portrayed through his face and posture. We watch both the internal shifting cloud of emotion and the changing light create a charge and intensity that is rarely seen in cinema. There is an element of the `unknowable' in this scene that still moves me, even after many viewings.

I also enjoy making comparison between this film and Dreyer's "Das Wort" (The Word), my favourite of Dreyer's works which has some common theme's, explored from different perspectives.

A truly great film, worthy of the Palme D'or it won.

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