One of the most gifted directors of the post-New Wave, Maurice Pialat is frequently compared to such legendary filmmakers as Jean Renoir and Robert Bresson. A quintessential realist filmmaker, who, like Bresson, was trained as a painter, his particular form of realism influenced an entire generation of young filmmakers in the 1990s. He is a complex and difficult director, who saw himself as a marginal and marginalised filmmaker, but whose films are deeply rooted in French society and culture, portraying “la France profonde”, or the heart of France.
Pialat made torments the subject of his art. The pain of creation, as in Van Gogh, Pialat vividly depicts the final days before the illed-Vincent decides to take his own life, and how he had never benefitted from his own accomplishments. The pain of love, as in Under the Sun of Satan, a movie based on the 1926 novel of the same name by Georges Bernanos, he carefully illustrates a passionate priest who upsets the Grace of God when being tempted by Satan in rescuing the soul of a murderer. In We Won’t Grow Old Together and Loulou, Pialat portrays the cowardness and selfishness of people engaged in deviant love affairs critically, and how one would finally suffer from the seeds one sowed by oneself, inspired by his own experiences.
就如同 Jean Renoir 和 Robert Bresson，Maurice Pialat 被視為後法國新浪潮（post New Wave）其中一位天才導演。作為現實主義電影製作人表表者 Bresson 一樣，Pialat 也是畫家出身，他獨特的現實主義風格滋養了 90 年代的多位年輕製片人。他自視為邊緣人，是一位複雜而又令人難以理解的出品人，其作品帶有法國社會及文化的深刻烙印，為我們展現最真實的法國。
Pialat 喜以『折磨』作為藝術創作的中心思想。例如 Pialat 透過《梵高》表達創作的痛苦，生動地描繪這位病入膏肓的著名畫家自殺臨終前片段，感慨梵高一生中懷才不遇，從未享受過自己的藝術成就。痛苦的愛，亦是他另一大主題。例如在《撒旦太陽下》，這套由 Georges Bernanos 同名小說改編而成的電影，Pialat 細心地刻畫出一位熱心神父在拯救殺人少女靈魂時受惡魔誘惑，繼而背叛神的恩典。在《難相廝守》及《情人奴奴》裡，Pialat 審判一段段關係中出軌者的窩囊和自私，他們種瓜得瓜，最終必然會自作自受，當中更包括不少對自己愛情史的殘酷鞭撻。
Source (partly paraphrased): Warehime, Marja. Maurice Pialat: French Film Directors. Manchester UP, 2006.