7 December 2019 | dbdumonteil
Dieu est amour.
Few legends have been woven from humbler stuff,and this particular encounter between one of the poorest peasant girls in a tiny village of the Pyrenées and "the Lady" led to events that shook not only my native France but the entire Christian world.
Lourdes has become the second Christian pilgrimage place in the world after Rome,the second hotel town in France after Paris.
Coming after "the song of Bernadette " ,unlike the latter,Darène's movie is not based on a biography but on a solid screenplay by writer Gilbert Cesbron whose lines go directly to the heart ;this is the first of the two French movies
which tell Bernadette's extraordinary tale ,the second (and the first in color) being Jean Delannoy's "Bernadette" .
Cesbron's lines are wonderfully written :keyword is humility ; Bernadette came from the poorest family of her town who would live in a slum called "Le Cachot" (=the dungeon);she says she's ignorant (the admirable scene in which a nun asks her who God is ,and the good pupil who has learnt her lesson well and repeats it parrot fashion), she does not understand what she's been told by the "lady in blue" :the "Immaculate Conception " eludes her ; we never see the apparition and all her lines are told by the heroine or her neighbors ("she was told she would not find happiness in this world,but in the next one")
Bernadette disturbs :she comes against the knowing Church ,law and order ,before winning them over ;later,in the convent ,she's humiliated by the mother superior and she finds that normal,because this amazing grace which emanates from her,saved a wretch like her.
Danielle Ajoret shines in her part and was awarded a prize in the Cork festival :her beaming face is fascinating ,her faith could move mountains .This excellent actress could have made a great career in the movies,but she favored stage (notably Molière)
The movie does not pass over in silence the moneychangers in the Temple ,as pictures of Bernadette are already sold when she 's in the nunnery;a highly trade was to be highly developed in Lourdes Town.
Robert Darène was never a great director ,but when he dealt with religion (see also "Les Chiffonniers D'Emmaus" )he had been inspired.
I would repeat the admirable lines which introduced "the song of Bernadette" :"for those who have faith,no explanation is necessary .For those who don't ,no explanation is possible"