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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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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:
DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID: Comparison between 1946 and 1964 Film Versions See more (32 total) »

Cast

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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
 

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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:
This is Luis Buñuel's only film in the anamorphic widescreen format.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 Call Him Jess (2000)See more »

FAQ

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18 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID: Comparison between 1946 and 1964 Film Versions, 13 June 2004
Author: MARIO GAUCI (marrod@melita.com) from Naxxar, Malta

I will say outright that not only is Luis Bunuel my favorite film director but I also consider him one of the ten of the all-time greatest. Rarely did a renowned film-maker make such a remarkable comeback after years of exile as Bunuel did with LOS OLVIDADOS (1950) and, even rarer still, did one director have such a sustained series of masterworks released towards the twilight of his career. Having said all this, however, I think that LE JOURNAL D'UNE FEMME DA CHAMBRE aka DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID (1964) is the weakest of the final ten feature films Bunuel made during the most fruitful period of his career (between 1961 and 1977) – if such a choice were to be made, that is.

Don't get me wrong; I do think that LE JOURNAL is an excellent film and would probably be considered a bona-fide masterpiece if it were made by a lesser director. There is much to enjoy in the film: Jeanne Moreau's superb central performance as the opportunistic Celestine stricken by an unexpected sense of moral duty prompting her to nail the killer of the child even if she has to marry him to do so; Michel Piccoli's hilarious turn as the eternally insatiable but perennially unsatisfied master of the household who, when his sexual advances towards Celestine are turned down by the latter, has to make do with the ugly-looking house-maid; the aged father-in-law who invites Celestine into his room to read for him, all the while indulging in his foot fetish; the sadistic manservant who thinks nothing of violating and murdering innocent little girls while nurturing dreams of sealing his independence with the purchase of a pub all his own and with Celestine as his partner; the eccentric neighbour who sabotages their garden at every turn and yet yearns for Celestine's companionship, etc. Bunuel offers a typically scathing satire of the bourgeoisie here and, as has already been stated by others in this thread, also shows that he is adept at utilizing the widescreen format despite this being his first and only stab at it, as well as imbuing seemingly trivial and innocent sequences with a subtly perverse touch of subversion.

Even so, I do tend to generally agree with eminent film critic Leslie Halliwell's verdict on this particular film: 'Interesting but not especially successful Bunuel version; the subject is certainly up his street but the novel (by Octave Mirbeau) seems to restrict him'. I found the ending incomprehensible and disappointing myself at first but now I can appreciate not only its irony but its audacity. I have now watched the film three times – twice on VHS and once on Criterion's DVD – and I must say that it does improve with each viewing.

I don't know if anyone of you has seen Jean Renoir's 1946 US film version but somehow I actually prefer it to Bunuel's. I can't say I concur with Halliwell's review this time around dismissing as it did Renoir's film: 'Hollywood notables were all at sea in this wholly artificial and unpersuasive adaptation of a minor classic'! Leonard Maltin, a well-known US film critic, didn't like it much either saying that it was an 'uneasy attempt at a Continental-style romantic comedy…tries hard but never really sure of what it wants to be…(the cast) do their best to liven things'! Based on these two capsule reviews I was hardly expecting it to be a patch on the Bunuel version but I nevertheless purchased the PAL VHS (issued by 4 Front but subsequently deleted) since it was quite cheap and, after all, medium Renoir (another of my favorites, by the way) is better than many other film-makers around!

But, surprisingly, what could have easily been a inconsequential and frothy comedy of manners (the result of the typically sanitized Hollywood rewrites of subversive European literature) turned out to be an unprecedented black comedy with that uniquely French bleak outlook of things. Paulette Goddard plays Celestine in this one and she has probably never been better. In fact, as was also the case with the later Bunuel adaptation, the performances here are all first-rate: Hurd Hatfield as the idealistic young son who falls hopelessly in love with Celestine; Judith Anderson as the lady of the house firmly in control of every situation but with some strange alliances of her own; Irene Ryan as a timid scullery maid; Reginald Owen as the weak-willed master of the house perpetually harassed by his wife's demands; and particularly Burgess Meredith (who also wrote the screenplay!) as the half-crazed and shell-shocked retired Army Captain who is their neighbor; but especially Francis Lederer whose portrayal of the devilish manservant Joseph lusting after Celestine while scheming behind the back of his oppressive masters is quite chilling.

Doing some more reading on this film after watching it a couple of times, I found out that there are those who think more highly of Renoir's DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID than I was previously led to believe. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, no less an authority than Andre' Bazin, in his famous unfinished critical study of Renoir's films, goes so far as to call it a masterpiece and the finest of all the films Renoir made in America between 1941 and 1947. Well, who am I to argue? I do recommend that you seek it out if you have the chance if only to see how it compares with the more readily available Bunuel version.

The thing which struck me most when comparing these two film versions is how different the plot-line actually is from one film to the other. I haven't read the book so I can't say which is the more legitimate one but the differences are quite noteworthy: while there is no child murder in the Renoir version, Joseph does get to kill the eccentric neighbor; there is no handsome young master in Bunuel's version; there is no aged patriarch in Renoir's version; Joseph does not survive to see the realization of his dreams in the Renoir version but rather gets himself slightly killed in a climactic fight in the city streets with Celestine's young pretender, etc. I think it would be a worthwhile exercise if I were to get my hands on Octave Mirbeau's original novel some day!

As a matter of fact, I think a similarly fascinating comparison could be made between (incidentally, another favorite director of mine) Josef von Sternberg's final film with Marlene Dietrich, THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN (1935) and Luis Bunuel's cinematic swan song, CET OBSCUR OBJET DU DESIR aka THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (1977) – both of which were adapted from the same source material: Pierre Louys' 'La Femme Et Le Pantin'.

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