In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_guest_ver5

The Guest

Wingard and Barrett have a perfect eye and ear for this type of material. They have fun with their influences, paying homage to John Carpenter…

Thumb_evfwnbohmbz7fedze6uuowisxcz

20,000 Days on Earth

In his music, he routinely celebrates/deconstructs his public persona: brutalizer, coward, agnostic, and wannabe deity. "20,000 Days on Earth" is accordingly not a biography, but…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives

Reviews

Mademoiselle

  |  

Let's have a contest, gang. The one who finds the most Freudian symbols in Tony Richardson's "Mademoiselle" wins the Norman Vincent Peale book of his choice. I'll give you a few to get your list started: There are 19 shots of a lake. Lakes stand for women. Sometimes it is stormy, sometimes it is covered with raindrops, sometimes it is calm. Everytime you see Jeanne Moreau, she is like the lake. Stormy, covered with raindrops, calm.

Then there is a great scene where she meets the Italian lumberjack in the woods. He has a pet snake. They shake hands, and the snake crawls down his arm and up hers. For a moment there, while the snake is in midpassage, you could turn the screen on edge and have the trademark of the American Medical Assn.

Then you have Miss Moreau's hang-up. She is a schoolteacher in a French town. She tells her students a story about an evil baron who sneaks out at night and sets houses on fire. Sure enough, Miss Moreau sneaks out at night and sets houses on fire. She also opens the floodgates on the dam, poisons the water supply and smokes cigarettes. She is an evil woman.

One day she goes out into the woods and is seduced by the lumberjack. The seduction scene lasts from about 4 p.m. until noon the next day. Miss Moreau and the lumberjack run through the fields and the forest and around the lake, and about midnight it starts to rain. Then it gets muddy. They slosh through the mud, carrying on their carefree lovers' dance. Slosh, slosh, slosh, I hear the lovers dancing.

The town is a very peculiar town. It is a French town in which the Italians speak in English subtitles, and when the French speak, they speak in French to each other, but in English when they are speaking to the camera. Miss Moreau speaks in English and teaches her classes in English, even though she is French. The kids don't learn so fast. Probably confused by the Italian subtitles.

I am not, of course, being very fair to "Mademoiselle," but it is not the kind of movie that encourages mercy. It is murky, disjointed and unbearably tedious. The script by Jean Genet reads like something out of Evergreen Review by way of French pornography.

Tony Richardson has never made a movie anything like this before. His best films ("Look Back in Anger," "A Taste of Honey," "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" and "Tom Jones") were all characterized by a fast-paced editing style and a refreshing disregard for pretension. But with "The Loved One," Richardson came down with a bad case of trying too hard, and in "Mademoiselle" there is no restraint at all.

Still, Miss Moreau is as flawless in her lousy roles as her good ones.

Popular Blog Posts

There's Something About "Blade Runner"

A new look at the role of hero and villain in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner."

The Unloved, Part Ten: "The Village"

Part ten in Scout Tafoya's The Unloved series tackles "The Village."

Now, "Voyager": in praise of the Trekkiest "Trek" of all

As we mourn Abrams’ macho Star Trek obliteration, it’s a good time to revisit that most Star Trek-ian of accomplishme...

Interview: Leonard Maltin’s Final “Guide” Marks the End of an Era

An interview with film critic Leonard Maltin.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus