Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Jeanne Moreau, Ettore Manni, Keith Skinner, Umberto Orsini, Georges Aubert
Director: Tony Richardson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
No Description Available. Genre: Foreign Film - French Rating: NR Release Date: 7-SEP-2004 Media Type: DVD
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Desire can be poison
C. B Collins Jr. | Atlanta, GA United States | 03/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a unique film experience, complex and odd.
The story is that of a spinster school teacher, Mademoiselle, played by Jeanne Moreau. She is the adored school teacher in a rural French village. Yet, she engages in acts of secret destruction that bring havoc to the people of the little village. Her first act of destruction seems to be accidental but when she finds that her handsome Italian dream man comes to the rescue, she creates more and more havoc.
She meets the masculine handsome Italian woodcutter, Manou, in the forrest and insists that his adolescent son, Bruno, come to school. Yet, as her desire for Manou increases, she becomes more cruel to Manou's son and her destructive acts in the village increase. In one telling scene, Mademoiselle tells the school children of Gilles de Rais who cannibalized Franch village children
Jeanne Moreau does an excellent job of playing this complex and disturbed woman. She dresses up in spike heels and black lace gloves before flooding a farm or burning a barn. She is a woman tormented by her desires, both hating and loving the man of her desires.
Manou is also exceptionally well played. He is heroic, helping to save farm animals from drowning or saving belongings from burning farm houses. He loves women and makes love to many of the plain, French housewives in the village. He is entertained by women. He and Mademoiselle make love in the forrests and woods all night and Mademoiselle allows all her repressed sexuality to erupt. Manou laughs in amusement as she licks his dirty work boots. He calls her like a dog and she bows to him while trying to stay hidden in his shadow. She barks like a dog during their lovemaking and howls at the moon when he plays dead in the shallows of the lake. Yet, despite the sexual power he displays in the dominance he exerts on Mademoiselle, he is a big handsome dumb hunky fool. The tensions in the town rise to the breaking point. Manou is having sex with all the French farm women and their daughters and the men are getting pretty steamed-up. The fires, floods, and poisoned wells are detroying the town financially. And yet Manou will not take his son Bruno and move on. Manou thinks that Mademoiselle is teaching his son in school and thus they need to remain so that the son gets an education. Yet Mademoiselle takes out her sexual frustration on Bruno, trying to shame him in front of the other students.
Bruno, the son of the Italian woodsman, also is a complex character. He is an adolescent of around 13 or 14 wishing to wear the adult pants of his father. He falls for his teacher Mademoiselle and steals her handkerchief. Manou later discovers this and thinks that his brooding son is in love with a local French farm girl. Little does he know that Bruno hides in the shadows, crying over the cruelty he experiences from Mademoiselle at school and his father's rough insensitive reading of his son's moods. It is Bruno who realizes that it is Mademoiselle who is burning farms, due to a page from a school workbook she uses to light a flame in a haystack. Yet he does not tell on her, which leads to the tragedy of his father's murder by the farmers. Richardson did an excellent job of capturing the emerging sexuality of Bruno. His father won't let him wear long pants and inssits that he remain in school boy shorts. Yet Bruno's long well developed manly legs reveal that he is no longer a child.
The photography in this black and white film was exceptional. The French countryside was amazingly beautiful. The forrests and lakes and meadows were full of wildlife and beauty. The village was superb, strong buildings made of stone and timber, clustering in a natural evolution of function for farm families. Richardson frequently creates broad vistas with human and their interactions emeging on the edges.
I would strongly recommend this unique film to many of my friends who can accept the implicit, the vague, the unsolved mystery style of this film. I would not recomment it to folks who want a clear plot, clear lines between good and evil, and resolution and justice in the ending. This film will haunt you."
Mademoiselle's Return to Nature
Doug Anderson | Miami Beach, Florida United States | 02/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Opening shot: In the countryside a religious procession moves along under a hot sun. Somewhere in the hills above Jeanne Moreau cranks open a floodgate. She is wearing black fishnet gloves, a black dress and heels. The water pours downhill toward a farm flooding it. The church bell rings alerting everyone of the disaster, the procession disperses, and Moreau heads down hill to watch as they all try to save the livestock from drowning.
Tony Richardson directed Tom Jones and in that picture showed he had quite a knack for capturing English rural folk. But with this tale filmed in a gorgeous tinted black and white which makes apple blossoms look more beautiful than they ever do in color he has swapped the 18th Century ribaldry of Fielding for the 20th Century subversive austerity of Genet and made a French language film which I'm certain raised quite a few eyebrows, French and English, in its day. Its shock value I do not think has diminished much, if at all. The star of the film is Jeanne Moreau as the chaste schoolmistress who comes from the city to educate the rural children. But lurking within her cool reserved impassive demeanor are passions that have perhaps been too long divorced from nature so she is especially vulnerable when her long hidden passions are stirred by the presence of an Italian woodsman who she spies on one of her solitary strolls through the woods. "Be careful miss," yells one of the villagers as he sees her heading toward the woods, "there's a wolf in those woods." But thats just what shes seeking. Meanwhile a series of fires have been set and being the foreigner the Italian woodsman is the the prime suspect. We know who it is however setting those fires, and we slowly learn why. Tony Richardson captures Moreaus face as it changes from mood to mood. He captures her melancholy and isolation as she applies her lipstick and puts her hair up in preparation for one of her "acts", and then he shows what she looks like when she returns and looks in the mirror again seeing how the "act" has changed her. Moreau is one of the more mysterious beauties of French cinema and in this role that beauty is used to greater effect than any other director has used it. She is fascinating to watch as this prim sophisticated schoolmistress who finally undergoes the transformation she has been longing for.The night Moreau and the woodsman spend together is one of unleashed instinct and abandon and it is all filmed in an unforgettable series of vignettes: the two lying down in tall grass as the sun goes down, beside a pond in utter darkness as a storm breaks, running from each other and surrendering to each other time and again. Raw and sensual as anything you will see in a film then or now Richardson takes the film to a completely different plane with these scenes. When Moreau returns to the village the next morning covered in mud and clothes in shreds the villagers ask her if it was the Italian. Her answer and her final expression seen from a car window as she drives away from the village is one of utter self-content. Also recommended: Elevator to the Gallows, The Lover, Bride Wore Black."
Something different for discriminating film lovers...
D. Diamond | Boston, MA United States | 05/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Depicting the story of a sexually frustrated French schoolteacher's relationship with a sexy Italian woodcutter and his son, this 1966 film is probably one of the more provocative and unusual films from the mid-1960s. Definitely something different for the discriminating filmgoer of the day. Directed by Oscar-winner Tony Richardson ("Tom Jones") from a script by the legendary Jean Genet ("Querelle"), "Mademoiselle" is notable for its striking black & white cinematography and, most especially, a spellbinding performance from the great Jeanne Moreau ("Jules and Jim"). It's stylish and well-made, to be sure, but this unusual picture probably isn't for all tastes. If you're a fan of Genet, Moreau, or off-beat European cinema, "Mademoiselle" comes highly recommended, for others the film may ultimately be too self-conscious, slow-going and demanding to make for a rewarding viewing experience. But, again, for the discriminating movie lover looking for something different, it's definitely worth a look. The MGM DVD release is fine, if bare-bones simple. It includes a rather haunting theatrical trailer, but, unfortunately, doesn't feature the film's alternate English soundtrack (it was released in both French and English language versions). Too bad MGM chose not to add this extra, as the English dub (featuring Moreau's own voice) is actually quite well done."
Disturbingly great tale of sexual obsession and repression
Kardius | USA | 05/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There have been a series of fires to the farms on a small French village. The villagers suspect a hunky Italian who has been sleeping around with their women, but the viewers know from the first scene that the culprit is "Mademoiselle," the schoolteacher played by Jeanne Moreau.
Scripted by Jean Genet, the plotline is merely an excuse to explore the violent dynamics of sexual desire, with the hunky Italian symbolizing masculine virility and the French schoolteacher symbolizing feminine repression. The two eventually clash, leading to a disturbingly erotic sequence with all of the sexual symbolism expected from Genet (including lovers spitting at each other).
Shot in black and white, British director Tony Richardson is at the top of his game, making the most of the sexual symbolism without verging on what could have easily become high camp. Although Jean Genet reportedly didn't like her in the part, I think Jeanne Moreau, as Mademoiselle, is simply excellent. She suggests more sexuality and especially perverse desire with a simple gesture of the mouth than someone like Sharon Stone ever did with all her nudity in the Basic Instinct movies. Ettore Manni, as the Italian object of Mademoiselle's affections, is merely required to look hot and virile, which he does.
This film is not for everybody, but the film will be of interest for anyone looking for a visually sophisticated take on sexual perversity and repression and for fans of the great Jeanne Moreau."