7.6/10
7,406
58 user 52 critic

La Cérémonie (1995)

La cérémonie (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 20 December 1996 (USA)
A new-hired maid for a rich countryside family befriends a post-office clerk, who encourages her to rebel against her employers.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), | 1 more credit »
Reviews
8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, too weak to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, François Cluzet, Marie Trintignant
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In Lausanne, the aspirant pianist Jeanne Pollet has lunch with her mother Louise Pollet, her boyfriend Axel and his mother. Lenna leans that when she was born, a nurse had mistakenly told ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jacques Dutronc, Anna Mouglalis
Violette (1978)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In an interwar France struggling with profound social and political change, 18-year-old Violette Noziere rebels against the constraints of her claustrophobic, working-class (and possibly incestuous) family, with troubling consequences.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Stéphane Audran, Jean Carmet
Certificate: GP Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Single father obsessed with murdering the hit&run driver who killed his only child, poses as a screenwriter to get close to an actress who was in the death car. He feels fully prepared to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Michel Duchaussoy, Caroline Cellier, Jean Yanne
Le Boucher (1970)
Certificate: GP Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An unlikely friendship between a dour, working class butcher and a repressed schoolteacher coincides with a grisly series of Ripper-type murders in a provincial French town.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Stéphane Audran, Jean Yanne, Antonio Passalia
Madame Bovary (1991)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-François Balmer, Christophe Malavoy
The Lacemaker (1977)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Beatrice is a very reserved and quiet young woman. Her friend Marylene is left by her lover and brings her to Cabourg (Normandy) for a few days' vacation. There, Beatrice, an apprentice ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Goretta
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Yves Beneyton, Florence Giorgetti
L'Enfer (1994)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Paul, an irritable and stressed-out hotel manager, begins to gradually develop paranoid delusions about his wife's infidelity. As he succumbs to green-eyed jealousy, his life starts to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Emmanuelle Béart, François Cluzet, Nathalie Cardone
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A magistrate investigates a corporate executive.

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, François Berléand, Patrick Bruel
Masques (1987)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Roland Wolf wants to write a book about a TV game-show host, the hail-fellow-well-met Christian Legagneur, who invites Wolf to his country estate, promising several days of lengthy ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Robin Renucci, Bernadette Lafont
The Swindle (1997)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Betty and Victor are a pair of scam artists. One day Betty brings in Maurice, a treasurer of a multinational company. Maurice is due to transfer 5 millions francs out of Switzerland, and ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Michel Serrault, François Cluzet
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jeanne la postière
...
...
...
...
Melinda
Valentin Merlet ...
Gilles
Julien Rochefort ...
Jeremie
Dominique Frot ...
Madame Lantier
...
Priest
Ludovic Brillant
Claire Chiron
Claire-Marie Dentraygues
Jean-Pierre Descheix
Penny Fairclough
Alain Françoise
Edit

Storyline

The upper-class owner of a gallery, Catherine Lelievre, hires the efficient and quiet maid Sophie to work in the family manor in the French countryside. Her husband Georges Lelievre, who is an opera lover, her daughter Melinda and her teenage son Gilles welcome Sophie and appreciate her work. Sophie soon befriends the postmistress Jeanne, who is a bad egg and encourages Sophie to rebel against her employers, but the maid stays submissive. However, Sophie is ashamed of a secret and feels uncomfortable in many situations, finding a way to hide her secret. When Georges tells Sophie that he does not want Jeanne in his house, Sophie stands up to him. Melinda discovers her secret and Sophie blackmails her, but Melinda tells her parents what happened. Georges fires Sophie and she returns to the house later with Jeanne on the rampage. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 December 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La Cérémonie  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$49,843 (USA) (20 December 1996)

Gross:

$670,659 (USA) (21 February 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Quotes

Jeanne la postière: They're pathetic. What do they know? They've got it all. Their biggest worry is what color car to buy. Or which cousin stole half the inheritance. I'd be happy with a tenth of what they have. I'd have the life I wanted, instead of just the opposite.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Pessimistic view of humanity
10 August 1999 | by (Preston, England) – See all my reviews



Claude Chabrol, one of the leading lights of the French New Wave, faded into a series of unimaginative throwaway flicks and obscurity (peppered with moments of worthiness such as Blood Sisters )until storming once again into the limelight with this claustrophobic psycho-thriller adaptation.

Like Heavenly Creatures and Fun this film is anchored around the destructively intense relationship between two female leads: the apparently insipid family housemaid Sophie (Sandra Bonnaire) and the sparky but cumulatively obnoxious postmistress Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert). They both, it transpires, have potentially murderous secrets in their past involving the incineration of unwanted relatives (a child and a father). After a roundabout, deliberately vague "confession" to each other they erupt into childish laughter and it seems their relationship is cemented in their mutual utter lack of remorse.

There is no guilt felt by either woman for any of their crimes be it spite, neglect, theft, opening other's mail, arson or even murder. This is because, primarily though Jeanne's obsessive class angst and Sophie's obsessive paranois, they justify their stance and actions with an "us against them the world" self-righteous fervour. Jeanne describes all her - increasingly erratic - behaviour as "a good deed" and the equaly unstable Sophie believes her.

Every role is acted impeccably by some of the leading lights of French cinema. Along with Bonnaire and Huppert, arguably the best French actresses working today, Jacqueline Bisset plays the bourgeouse lady of the house for whom Jeanne works. She sees herself as a kind and understanding employer, providing glasses and a television for her taciturn domestic. However this gesture is interpreted as patronising by the illiterate Jeanne.

It's through minot details such as this that character exposition arises . The two principals are painted with tiny, finely detailed brushstrokes while everyone around them is painted with broad strokes. This intentional disparity brings us uncomfortably closer to the unhinged worlds of Jeanne and Sophie. Worlds which are revealed slowly, subtly and manipulatively.

La Ceremonie is based of a Ruth Rendell novel, "Judgement in Stone". Rendell is an archetypal British writer and I think that if La Ceremonie was a British film with British actors and a skilful British director it would have been a very different, darker and more disturbing movie. Having said this, Chabrol, with his distinctly French sensibilities and post nouvelle vague expertise brings other qualities to the story and makes this a remarkable film. Chabrol avoided darkness for the sake of it in favour of a highly sophisticated level of characterisation and build-up. The climax, however it was filmed, could never be anything less than shocking.

Ultimately la Ceremonie presents a pessimistic view of humanity: bleak, depressing and disturbing. Even Bisset's family don't come off well with their selfishly consumereist and blinkered middle class lifestyles.This and the high degree of audience manipulation means the film leaves a bad taste in the mouth but there's no denying it's an egregious work of art.


30 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?