Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tony Richardson's Mademoiselle


I wrote this brief description of Tony Richardson's Mademoiselle for the Cinefamily repertory theater, who are screening a 35mm print of the film on February 23rd, 2013, at 7pm. 

Full-time school teacher, part-time practitioner of the finer points of arson, the title character of Tony Richardson’s perversely pleasurable 1966 mad-woman mystery Mademoiselle is one of the era’s most complex feminist creations. When a series of “natural disasters” begin to plague an idyllic French village, the affected townspeople immediately accuse an immigrant Italian laborer of the crimes. Unbeknownst to all, however, is the ambiguous motivations of a local elementary teacher pushed to psychosexual extremes by thwarted desire and lustful impulse. As the mentally unstable Mademoiselle, legendary French actress Jeanne Moreau (in one of her best and most underseen roles) is at once mysterious and malicious, proceeding stoically but with an unstoppable, unexplained passion. Equal parts brooding, Bergman-like biblical allegory and prickly, Polanski-like pulp parable, Mademoiselle is a stunningly shot, psychologically provocative work from the subversive European cinema renaissance of the 1960s. [Cinefamily]

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