Monday, November 19, 2012


Tony Richardson's Mademoiselle (1966) reminds me in tone and ambience of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" (1948).  It exudes a war-weary, haunted feeling that surrounds people, people who shakily trust their instincts about certain things but not others -- much to their peril.  Mademoiselle displays human nature in crisis, with the full force of its primal, fickle eeriness underscored. 

What's most interesting about Mademoiselle is Jeanne Moreau in the lead role, a Satanic force wrapped inside "respectability." She is the town saboteur, sowing disaster, exploiting xenophobia and spreading general mayhem.

Adapting from Joan Didion's question (originally about Iago): What makes Mademoiselle evil?

Who knows?

Bad seed, demonic energy, ability to exploit gender role expectations? The possibilities are endless, the results steadfast and creepy.

Marguerite Duras' script was adapted from a Jean Genet tale. Tony Richardson is better known for several other brooding offbeat films, but Mademoiselle, too, fits the bill. 

Today's Rune: Joy.         

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