Archive of films Under Satan's Sun / Sous le soleil de Satan

1987, 103 min

Section: Homage to Maurice Pialat and Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Year: 2003

This adaptation of the "unfilmable" novel by Catholic writer Georges Bernanos tells the story of peasant Donissan who, despite warnings from those "qualified" to express an opinion, is set on becoming a priest. This story of sanctity put to the test won the Palme d´Or at the Cannes IFF in 1987.


Like Robert Bresson before him with Diary of a Country Priest (1951), Maurice Pialat took up the challenge of adapting French Catholic writer Georges Bernanos’ unfilmable work. Outwardly it appears as a faithful adaptation, but underneath the film brims with ambiguous and explosive creative energy – similar to the young villager Donissan: despite his rough exterior and the warnings of the “select,” he stubbornly persists in his plans to become a priest. At first unliked by both his superiors and the parishioners, plagued by doubts, and struggling with pride, mediocrity and carnality, Donissan chooses his own method of attaining salvation: it involves Germaine, a young seamstress with a bad reputation (whose death the young priest is unintentionally responsible for), as well as a fellow traveller along life’s way – the tempter Satan. He appears to the priest as a horse trader as the latter journeys thought the countryside to a distant parish in Etaples. Satan “gives” him his own harrowing ability – to see into the souls of his fellow men. In spite of the fact that Donissan eventually gains a reputation among his new parishioners as a holy man, up to the last moments of his life he continues to strive for perfection unattainable and victory over hell’s ever-present minions. The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1987 Cannes IFF.

About the director

Maurice Pialat (1925 – 2003) Filmografie - režisér / Filmography - director: L´enfance nue / Nahé dětství / Naked Childhood, 1968
La maison des bois / Srub / The House in the Woods,  TV, 1970
Nous ne vieillirons pas ensemble / Nezestárneme spolu / Break-Up, 1972
La gueule ouverte / Otevřená huba /The Mouth Agape, 1973
Passe ton bac d´abord / Nejdřív udělej maturitu / Graduate First, 1979
Loulou / Loulou / Loulou, 1980
A nos amours / Našim láskám / To Our Loves, 1983
Police / Policie / Police, 1985
Sous le soleil de Satan / Pod sluncem satanovým /Under Satan´s Sun, 1987
Van Gogh / Van Gogh / Van Gogh, 1991
Le garçu / Klučina / Le garçu, 1995 Filmografie - herec / Filmography - actor: Que la bête meure / Bestie musí zemřít / The Beast Must Die (režie / dir. Claude Chabrol, 1969)
La maison des bois / Srub / The House un the Woods (režie / dir. Maurice Pialat, TV, 1970)
Les lolos de Lola / Lolini chlapci / Lola´s Lolos (režie / dir. Bernard Dubois, 1974)
Mes petites amoureuses / Moje malé milenky / My Little Loves (režie / dir. Jean Eustache, 1975)
A nos amours / Našim láskám / To Our Loves (režie / dir. Maurice Pialat, 1983)
Sous le soleil de Satan / Pod sluncem satanovým /Under Satan´s Sun (režie / dir. Maurice Pialat, 1987)  


Asociace českých filmových klubů
Stonky 860, 686 01, Uherské Hradiště
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 572 501 989
Fax: +420 572 501 400

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Homage to Maurice Pialat and Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Director: Maurice Pialat
Screenplay: Maurice Pialat, Sylvie Danton podle románu Georgese Bernanose / based on a novel by Georges Bernanos
Dir. of Photography: Willy Kurant
Music: Henri Dutilleux
Editor: Yann Dedet
Producer: Jean-Claude Bourlat, Edith Colnel, Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Production: Erato Films, Films A2, Flach Films, Action Films, CNC, Sofica Investimage, Sofica Création
Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Sandrine Bonnaire, Maurice Pialat, Alain Artur, Yann Dedet, Brigitte Legendre, Jean-Claude Bourlat, Jean-Christophe Bouvet
Contact: Asociace českých filmových klubů


Jiří Králík

Festival Organizer, Distributor


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