Mademoiselle

1966, Drama, 1h 40m

3 Reviews 500+ Ratings

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Movie Info

After a series of buildings catch fire, the residents of a small country town are quick to accuse Italian lumberjack Manou (Ettore Manni), who's already guilty of seducing most of the town's women. No one suspects the real culprit, seemingly frigid schoolmarm Mademoiselle (Jeanne Moreau), who, beneath her quiet exterior, hides a torrential sadism. She continues to commit countless random and anonymous crimes, all in a misguided attempt to draw Manou's attention to herself.

Cast & Crew

Jeanne Moreau
Mademoiselle
Mony Reh
Vievotte
Gabriel Gobin
Police Sergeant
Antoine Marin
Armand
Charles Lavialle
Farmer in Flood
Robert Larcebeau
2nd Farmer in Fire
Denise Peronne
Maria
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Critic Reviews for Mademoiselle

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Mademoiselle

  • Jun 06, 2018
    Dark in its commentary about human nature, 'Mademoiselle' is both artistic and disturbing. Several say that it's the frustrated sexual desire for woodman Ettore Manni that leads to Jeanne Moreau's spate of secret violence against the town, but it's worth noting that the first fire set is accidental. I think it's more horrifying to think how arbitrary sociopathic behavior may be, that it may exist in all of us, and small turns of events turn her into a monster. The malevolence in her eyes is frightening, as is her cruelty to his son in her classroom, and we see how cruelty begets cruelty, as he dashes a rabbit repeatedly against the ground after an incident with her. That's one thing to beware of in the film, there is more than one scene of what appears to be actual cruelty to animals. There is also sexual humiliation - kissing boots, crawling on the ground, and getting spit on before being kissed - in a sequence that drags on over multiple scenes far too long towards the end. The film simply tries too hard to makes its point, sometimes with silly, obvious symbolism (for example, him unwrapping his snake and having her stroke it). Director Tony Richardson, with screen writing from Marguerite Duras based on a story by Jean Genet, certainly creates an image with this film, it's just not all that pleasant. On the positive side, he does capture several wonderful shots, mostly outdoors. It's as if he saying nature is beautiful, man is not. I also loved seeing Jeanne Moreau, who is fantastic.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 29, 2013
    Considering "Mademoiselle" is a Tony Richardson film starring Jeanne Moreau in her iconic prime, this is a strangely forgotten project. Why it is buried? Well, it's in black and white, and its countryside scenes are begging to be shot in color. It also has some distasteful animal cruelty and an understated ending that defies mainstream expectations. And perhaps it's somewhat disorienting seeing a French-language film shot by a director whose other early works ("Look Back in Anger," "A Taste of Honey," "Tom Jones," "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner) tended to be so intensely British in theme. In any case, "Mademoiselle" shouldn't be overlooked. Moreau plays the title character, a sexually repressed schoolteacher in a small, poor French village. For mysterious reasons, she is secretly setting fires, causing floods and committing other heinous crimes against her community. But her prejudiced neighbors instead suspect Manou (Ettore Manni), a Italian woodsman temporarily laboring in the nearby forest. His son Bruno (Keith Skinner) is equally disdained and even draws unfair abuse from "Mademoiselle" (her proper name is never given) during class. As the poor town's outrage grows, we come to understand Mademoiselle's twisted motive. Moreau was brilliant in these stone-faced, enigmatic roles, and this disturbing drama is another gem on her resumé.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 25, 2012
    a very subtle horror film with an excellent villainous turn by jeanne moreau
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Feb 16, 2012
    "Mademoiselle" starts with a middle-aged schoolteacher(Jeanne Moreau) opening the sluice gates on a dam, flooding the small village where she works. By the time she gets back, the villagers already know who did it, Manou(Ettore Manni), an itinerant Italian laborer who is also being blamed for a recent rash of fires. The schoolteacher may not harbor such harsh thoughts towards him, but that does not mean she does not have it in for his son, Bruno(Keith Skinner), in her classes. And then there is another fire to which Manou responds in a very heroic fashion which does not change the villagers' opinion towards him one iota. Based on a story by Jean Genet and screenplay by Marguerite Duras, "Mademoiselle" is a deeply unsettling movie full of memorable images of ugliness and beauty that warns that cruelty will only to lead to more cruelties, set in a village where religion is always in the background. At this point in his career, Tony Richardson was chronologically and philosophically between "The Loved One" and "Charge of the Light Brigade" and "Mademoiselle" has that same satirical edge with a brief debate about whether chastity is more virtue than suffering that turns out to be totally symptomatic of the schoolteacher's existence. She is an outsider like Manou but left alone since she is at least French and not suspected because ironically she appears a paragon of virtue. From what I have read elsewhere, she is much too old to have her sexual awakening now with a sexual angle to her crimes, as she puts on high heels, black lace gloves and makeup before going out to commit them.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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