IMDb > Diary of a Chambermaid (1964)
Le journal d'une femme de chambre
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Diary of a Chambermaid (1964) More at IMDbPro »Le journal d'une femme de chambre (original title)

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Overview

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7.6/10   5,112 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Octave Mirbeau (based on the novel by)
Luis Buñuel (adaptation) ...
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Contact:
View company contact information for Diary of a Chambermaid on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
9 March 1965 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Celestine, the chambermaid, has new job on the country. The Monteils, who she works for are a group of strange people... See more » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A dark comedy of brilliance See more (33 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Directed by
Luis Buñuel 
 
Writing credits
Octave Mirbeau (based on the novel by)

Luis Buñuel (adaptation and dialogue) &
Jean-Claude Carrière (adaptation and dialogue)

Produced by
Michel Safra .... producer
Serge Silberman .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Roger Fellous 
 
Film Editing by
Luis Buñuel 
Louisette Hautecoeur 
 
Production Design by
Georges Wakhévitch 
 
Costume Design by
Georges Wakhévitch 
 
Makeup Department
Simone Knapp .... hair stylist
Maguy Vernadet .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
Henri Baum .... production manager
Jacqueline Dudilleux .... assistant production manager
Ulrich Picard .... production manager (as U. Picard)
André Retbi .... unit manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Juan Luis Buñuel .... assistant director
Pierre Lary .... assistant director
 
Art Department
René Calviera .... assistant art director
Charles Merangel .... set dresser
 
Sound Department
Robert Cambourakis .... sound assistant
Antoine Petitjean .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Agathe Beaumont .... second assistant camera
Jean-Louis Castelli .... still photographer
Adolphe Charlet .... camera operator
René Schneider .... first assistant camera
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Jacqueline Moreau .... wardrober
 
Editorial Department
Arlette Lalande .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Robert Demollière .... administrator
Suzanne Durrenberger .... script supervisor (as Suzanne Duremberg)
Odette Laeupplée .... production secretary
Maurice Otte .... production accountant
Jean Van Praag .... administrator
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Le journal d'une femme de chambre" - Italy (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
101 min | France:97 min | Brazil:94 min | Argentina:97 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:13 | Australia:M | Finland:K-16 | Ireland:12 (DVD rating) | Portugal:M/12 (Qualidade) | Portugal:17 (censored version) | UK:X (original rating) | UK:12 (video rating) (2001) | UK:15 (video rating) (1993) | UK:AA (original rating) (1981) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:12 (w)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
The demonstrating fascists shout "Vive Chiappe", a homage to the chief of the Parisian police who prohibited showing director Luis Buñuel's earlier film L'Age d'Or (1930) after fascists destroyed the cinema where it was being shown.See more »
Quotes:
[first lines]
Céléstine:Are you from the priory?
Joseph:Yes.
Céléstine:Is it far?
Joseph:You'll see.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Chappaqua (1966)See more »

FAQ

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39 out of 52 people found the following review useful.
A dark comedy of brilliance, 17 September 2002
Author: Dennis Littrell from United States

This is my favorite Buñel film. The story is stunningly presented, an absolute work of art, unbelievably subtle but always concrete. It is like a great symphony: every note is perfect.

Surprisingly (considering the title) Le journal d'une femme de chambre is not about sex, nor is it a journal for that matter. It is about politics, sexual politics of course, but also domestic politics, manor politics, and nation-state politics. The time is the thirties as fascism moves toward its mesmerizing stranglehold on a decadent Europe. The place is France (Normandy, I imagine) where the republicans hold power. In the streets are those who would be brown suits and among them is Joseph (Georges Geret), groundskeeper for a petite bourgeois family of degenerate eccentrics. He is an incipient Nazi, a xenophobic anti-Semitic man who worships brute force, an ignorant man that every French movie-goer knows will be a Nazi-collaborator once France is under the occupation.

The story is seen from the point of view of Celestine, a chambermaid of some sophistication (and an abiding, but understandable duplicity), a Parisian who has come to work for the family in the country. She is played by the incomparable Jeanne Moreau of the plastic face, a woman of many guises, many moods and an ability to depict with a glance any emotion. She is a great star of the French stage and screen who plays the part effortlessly, with finesse and a fine subtlety. The screenplay by Buñel and the brilliant Jean-Claude Carriere (who penned so many outstanding films, Bell de Jour (1967), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Valmont (1989), The Ogre (1996), etc.) is an adaptation of the novel by Octave Mirbeau. There is a Hollywood film of the same name starring Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith and Judith Anderson, directed by Jean Renoir that I haven't seen, released in 1946. I understand the treatment was more comedic and conventional.

Surrealist Luis Buñel's film is perhaps best described as a comédie noire, a genre antecedent to the familiar (and somewhat similar) film noir. In the latter the comedy is usually incidental and there is no attempt at any great philosophic or symbolic significance. Here Buñel not only makes a statement about the nature of the relationship between bourgeois Europe in the thirties and fascism, but even delves into the primeval nature of women and gives us a sharp look at a woman's place in bourgeois society. Celestine is duplicitous because she has to be to survive. She uses men the way the society uses her.

Be sure and pay close attention to the final scene inside and outside the café and consider the implications of what is being shown. What is being suggested? Will Joseph finally get the punishment he so richly deserves? Or did Celestine make the choice she made out of fear? Is the union between Joseph and Celestine symbolic of that between the fascists and Europe?

For those interested in this last theme I highly recommend Vittoria De Sica's brilliant The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971).

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)

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