Femme Douce, Une

Director: Robert Bresson
Year Released: 1969
Rating: 2.5

A pawnbroker marries a poor, young girl (Dominique Sanda), but she grows unhappy with him very quickly, cheating with another man and acting cold towards him; eventually, she commits suicide by leaping out a window. Since she left no note and no one's sure why she killed herself, the story has the pawnbroker manufacturing a story of what may have led her to that point, and it's a one-sided affair: he makes himself appear concerned and dutiful, but she's the wayward one. Even for Bresson this is rather puzzling and unsatisfying, since part of the story is left out - Sanda's character is literally and figuratively muted, so that all that's left is for her to be the unknowable, silent, enigmatic, threatening "woman." Bresson deserves credit for managing to neuter and deconstruct the source text by Dostoyevsky and made it as minimal and stoic as his other pictures - it's just too bad it can't compare to his best work.