Director: Robert Bresson
Year Released: 1967
Tragic account of a lost girl trapped in a life of misery she never asked for and can't escape from - even a sliver of a positive relationship, in the form of a young man she meets at a fair, gets squelched by her obnoxious father. This isn't so simple as 'let's punish this teenage girl' - Bresson was too exceptional a filmmaker for such insulting simplicity - and the fault is not entirely Mouchette's own (though she's so miserable she can't help herself): her mother is dying, her father is not a provider, her actions are repeatedly misunderstood by the townspeople (including her teacher and her neighbors) and she is cursed with the most horrific luck (she's a 14-year-old Job). Even the girl's attempts to "get even" are more pathetic than malicious, and they literally involve smearing or throwing dirt - these acts have little effect, and they don't get close for making up for the punishment inflicted on her. Like Bresson's Joan of Arc or Balthazar, she's almost a kind of saint and it's so rare that I watch a movie in which I so desperately wanted to give a character a hug.