Originally a silent film, this soundtrack was added by Nikos Kokolakis in 2015 – turn the sound off if you prefer.
About her fourth complete film, Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946), Maya Deren writes: “A ritual is an action that seeks the realisation of its purpose through the exercise of form… In this sense ritual is art; and even historically, all art derives from ritual. In ritual, the form is the meaning. More specifically, the quality of movement is not merely a decorative factor; it is the meaning itself of the movement. In this sense, this film is dance […] It’s an inversion towards life, the passage from sterile winter into fertile spring; mortality into immortality; the child-son into the man-father; or, as in this film, the widow into the bride”.
– Maya Deren: Chamber Films, program notes for a presentation, 1960
“The small town is plagued with alcoholism, marital infidelity, unbridled masculinity, violence, and moral ambivalence. Mouchette’s father and brother, we have already seen, operate by selling liquor on the black market, with complicit police that turn an indifferent eye to a crate left behind. They, like other townsfolk, are paid in shots of alcohol, consumed without speech. Following Sunday mass, the village parishioners leave church and hastily head to the bar before the bells cease to toll. Mouchette’s dying mother has to hide gin from her abusive spouse. Even the town’s interdependent poacher/warden pair, Arsène and Mathieu, bring an end to their cat-and-mouse charade in the woods by sharing a drink from Arsène’s canteen full of gin. The motif of alcohol and its abuse stands as a distinctive mark of the moral decay of Mouchette’s society; however, the corruption of this town is not limited to alcoholism… Indeed, Mouchette’s society is one of extreme decadence and lawlessness, one that is ripe for a scapegoat upon whose back it can collectively discharge the burden of its vice and one from which the victim will gladly depart.”