Eastwood’s conceptions of heroism and villainy have always been, if not endlessly complex, at least never simplistic.
This is a film I've wanted to cover from the minute I read my friend David Cairns' post about it. It seemed too beautiful to be real, so I sought it out the following day and sat dumbfounded as it transpired. From the first shot of Jeanne Moreau, hands in fishnet gloves, turning the wheels of a lock and unleashing a torrent of water into a farm, I was in love. The film was more wondrous to look at than I was prepared for. Of course when that typically happens the public really takes against it. It's why Terrence Malick still needs defending after all these years.
"Mademoiselle" is rather like an anti-Terrence Malick movie, where people search for the most destructive and grimy way to fall from grace, rather than grope towards it. The camera hardly moves, standing stock still in a town with marrow-deep distrust of most people and sensations. It's clearly the realm of writer Jean Genet, where a current of dissatisfaction strips the paint off of our illusions and leaves only a hollow facade of law and order.
Moreau made many maudits in her time, but none with the raw, arch staying power of this meticulously crafted silent scream.
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This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...