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Maurice Pialat's The Mouth Agape is a film about death and everything that surrounds it from diagnosis to burial. It's a film that also explores how it effects everyone close to the central character Monique whose dying from terminal liver failure.
The Mouth Agape shares the same subject matter with Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers which came out a couple of years earlier. I like to think of this film as the Yin to Cries and Whispers Yang. Stripping away the melodrama and heightened sensibility that was prevalent in the cinematography of Bergman's film. Pialat directs this film with a cold, detached nuance. His methodical almost clinical approach to illness and death delivers a striking viewing experience.
Unfortunately any plot developments that splintered off from the main story surrounding Monique became slightly dull, and had me wanting the film to focus back on her. Also I didn't find myself as engaged with the characters unlike Cries and Whispers. Every actor gives a good performance, but they didn't have much of an emotional impact on the story.
Whilst the film didn't leave with the same visceral gut punch that Cries and Whispers did. Watching Monique's disease slowly consume her through the duration of the film left an impact worthy of recommending this film to those that haven't seen it.
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