This is French director Maurice Pialat’s austere screen adaptation of Catholic novelist George Bernanos’s 1926 novel. This religious work won the coveted Golden Palm at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. Father Donissan is an ardent man of God who mutilates his flesh, desperately seeks sanctity, and has a love/hate relationship with his cerebral superior. The priest’s faith and morals are tested by a roadside encounter with Satan, a truth-telling session with a 16-year-old murderess, and a challenge to raise a deceased child from the dead. This film graphically conveys the negative fallout from spiritual pride and boasts very strong performances by Gerard Depardieu as the religious zealot and Sandrine Bonnaire as the self-destructive sensualist. Although some have found this cinematic exploration of good and evil out of step with the times, others will see it as a credible reworking of an ancient and reputable religious theme.
Under the Sun of Satan
Explores the ways the faith and morals of a priest are tested.