Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: Le Journal D’Une Femme De Chambre
France/Italy, 1964. Ciné-Alliance, Filmsonor, Spéva Films, Dear Film Produzione. Adaptation and dialogue by Luis Bunuel, Jean-Claude Carriere, based on the novel by Octave Mirbeau. Cinematography by Roger Fellous. Produced by Michel Safra, Serge Silberman. Production Design by Georges Wakhevitch. Costume Design by Georges Wakhevitch. Film Editing by Luis Bunuel, Louisette Hautecoeur.
One of Luis Bunuel’s most enjoyable films is this kinky, fetishistic drama. A mysterious woman (Jeanne Moreau) applies for a job as a chambermaid in a well-to-do countryside manor and, after she gets her strict instructions from the not-too-sweet madame of the household, immediately gets comfortable in her new surroundings. Her appearance sparks the ire of a groundskeeper and the delight of the owner’s old father, who immediately initiates Moreau into his world of boot fetishes. Then there is a rape and murder of a young girl in the nearby woods and our heroine turns her head towards crime fighting. Scintillating from beginning to end, this film doesn’t have one single dull moment, and Moreau rules over it like the true cinema goddess that she is. The photography is gorgeous black-and-white widescreen Cinemascope, so if you can get a letterboxed edition than make sure it’s the one you see.
The Criterion Collection: #117