Mademoiselle (1966 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tony Richardson|
|Produced by||Oscar Lewenstein|
|Written by||Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet|
|Music by||Antoine Duhamel|
|Edited by||Sophie Coussein
|Distributed by||Lopert Pictures Corporation|
|June 1966 (France)
August 1966 (US)
January 1967 (UK)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Jeanne Moreau ... Mademoiselle
- Ettore Manni... Manou
- Keith Skinner ... Bruno
- Umberto Orsini ... Antonio
- Georges Aubert ... René
- Jane Beretta... Annette (as Jane Berretta)
- Paul Barge ... Young Policeman
- Pierre Collet ... Marcel
- Gérard Darrieu ... Boulet
- Jean Gras ... Roger
- Gabriel Gobin ... Police Sergeant
- Rosine Luguet ... Lisa
- Antoine Marin ... Armand
- Georges Douking ... The Priest
- Jacques Monod ... Mayor
- "IMDB: Mademoiselle (1966) - Release dates". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 246
- "IMDB: Mademoiselle (1966) - Awards". Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- "Festival de Cannes: Mademoiselle". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-03-08.