Mademoiselle (1966 film)

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Mademoiselle
Mademoiselle 1966 movieposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tony Richardson
Produced by Oscar Lewenstein
Written by Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet
Starring Jeanne Moreau
Music by Antoine Duhamel
Cinematography David Watkin
Edited by Sophie Coussein
Anthony Gibbs
Production
  company
Woodfall Film Productions
Distributed by Lopert Pictures Corporation
Release date(s) June 1966 (France)
August 1966 (US)
January 1967 (UK)[1]
Running time 105 minutes
Country France
United Kingdom
Language French
Italian
Box office $575,000[2]

Mademoiselle is a French - British drama film directed by Tony Richardson. The dark drama won a BAFTA award and nomination and was featured in the 2007 Brooklyn Academy of Music French film retrospective. Jeanne Moreau plays an undetected sociopath, arsonist and poisoner, a respected visiting schoolteacher and sécretaire at the Mairie in a small French village.

Synopsis[edit]

As the film begins, Mademoiselle is shown opening floodgates to inundate the village, so there's never a moment in the film that the audience believes she's a normal upstanding citizen, as the villagers do. But the film provides little insight into her motivation; she has no cause for revenge, and acquires no material gain or increased standing in the community from her furtive crimes. Later, she sets fire to houses and poisons the drinking troughs, causing the death of farm animals.

Out of pure prejudice, an Italian woodcutter (Manou, played in Italian by Ettore Manni) is the chief suspect. Sexual tension arises between Mademoiselle and Manou during a series of encounters in the forest. Finally, after a night of somewhat perverse intimacy in the fields, she falsely denounces him and the villagers hack him to death.

In a final scene, as Mademoiselle is leaving the village for ever, it is made obvious that the woodcutter's son (and Mademoiselle's former pupil) knows the secret.

Cinematography[edit]

The noir widescreen black-and-white photography, the rigidly static camera, the underlit interiors and the inclusion of a number of night or storm scenes, underscores a mood of evil. And as the villagers become corrupted by their own terror and close in on their own evil act of mistaken vengeance, it begins increasingly to seem like Mademoiselle is an actual embodiment of demonic passions sent by greater powers to visit the punishments of Job on an unsuspecting village—a test they thoroughly fail to pass.

Script[edit]

Having a script written by Marguerite Duras based on a story by Jean Genet, Mademoiselle could pass as an art film, a sexual thriller, or subtle horror; it is seen by many critics[who?] as a work of art.

Production[edit]

The film was shot on location in and around the tiny village of Le Rat, in the Corrèze département of central France. The entire production team stayed in what accommodation they could find locally for the duration of the shoot.

The director always saw Jeanne Moreau as the lead. He originally wanted Marlon Brando for the male lead, but scheduling could not be arranged.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

The film was released on DVD by MGM Home Entertainment in the USA in 2002.

Awards[edit]

1967 - Won: BAFTA award for Best Costume Design in B&W [British] (Costume designer Jocelyn Rickards won).[3]

1968 - Nominated: BAFTA Film Award: BAFTA Best British Cinematography (B/W) (Cinematographer David Watkin nominated).[3]

The film was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "IMDB: Mademoiselle (1966) - Release dates". Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  2. ^ Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 246
  3. ^ a b "IMDB: Mademoiselle (1966) - Awards". Retrieved 2010-03-21. 
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Mademoiselle". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 

External links[edit]