Veteran director Delannoy keeps things simple in his account of the peasant girl who claimed to have seen a vision at Lourdes. Bernadette lives with her family in appalling poverty, suffers from asthma, and is a slow learner, unable to grasp the intricacies of the catechism. One day a lady in white bathed in a heavenly glow appears in a grotto (the first of 17 such sightings). The peasant community believes her unhesitatingly, but official bodies sceptically search for scientific explanations or even political conspiracies. There's no doubting Delannoy's allegiance: he takes time to establish Bernadette's goodness and humility, painting as insipid a character as is usual for cinematic saints, while Sydney Penny brings to the part a naive allure. Long takes and Francis Lai's haunting music set a solemn tone that hints at big implications, but spirituality finally swamps the facts, and at two hours, this small story seems overstretched.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Robert Arnaut, Jean Delannoy|