In the early 1900s, in the French provinces. Célestine a beautiful and libertarian young woman, who has been hired as a chambermaid by the Lanlaires, arrives from Paris at the train station. Joseph, her masters' gruff gardener takes her to the house where she is to work. She is "welcomed" by Mr. Lanlaire who immediately starts fondling her. She then meets Mrs. Lanlaire, a very unpleasant woman with a class superiority. All this bodes ill for the future... Written by
The third version of Octave Mirbeau's novel and by far the weakest.Marion Cotillard was to play Célestine but she was eventually replaced by Léa Seydoux, whose inexpressive looks and listless acting do not help;and anyway she is no match for Jeanne Moreau ,the best Celestine ever,even though Luis Bunuel's story underwent some changes - when the master tackles a novel ,he integrates his obsessions ,and he makes it his own.
The movie suffers ,not only from Seydoux's monotonous portrayal,but also from a terribly desultory script (both Renoir's and Bunuel's efforts had firm screenplays.)
Let's put it straight:I did not expect much from a third version but I did watch it because Vincent Lindon is in it;unfortunately his part is reduced to a sex machine and he is not given a single chance to show his skills ;in Bunuel's version,Georges Géret made all his scenes count .
The cinematography is fine and the last pictures rather tasteful,but the movie will be quickly forgotten.
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