In this wicked adaptation of the Octave Mirbeau novel, Jeanne Moreau is Celestine, a beautiful Parisian domestic who, upon arrival at her new job at an estate in provincial 1930s France, entrenches herself in sexual hypocrisy and scandal with her philandering employer (Michel Piccoli).
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
One of my favorite Bunuel films, and certainly one of the best adaptations of this story. Bunuel's taste for psycho-sexual menace replaces Renoir's class-struggle romance, and Jeanne Moreau is as perfect in this version as Goddard was in Renoir's.
I watch this film at least twice a year. At least. This film is fantastic. Bunuel and Moreau?!?!?! What follows is a beautiful, dark, tricky, and sexual tale. FANTASTIC! I only wish the Criterion Collection edition wasn't out of print.
In many regards, a direct and uncomplicated film. Buñuel knew what he wanted to say, and it shows. And yet, it's ambiguous by choice, and this is its greatest strength. Moreau's performance is great as the complex chambermaid. The script foreshadows many details, and they pay off nicely. The critical look at society, from all angles is expertly accomplished. Probably one of my favorites by him.
While superficially one of Buñuel's most lucid and orderly works, Diary Of A Chambermaid is regardlessly one of his most beguiling, inexplicable, and unsettling pictures, containing some of his most indelible and erotically-charged imagery––the snails slithering over Claire's corpse; Jeanne Moreau's lovely legs, footwear, and maid's uniform––amidst a tapestry of pastoral repression.
There are very few films that I have ever seen that have such a strong subtext of sensuality as to inspire genuine arousal, and very few still that are as perfectly executed, as this gem of a masterpiece. As Criterion so perfectly states, it's "classic Buñuel".
The finest way of attuning the tidal blur between good and evil and ambiguity, pure poetry of ambiguity of motives. The genius of Bunuel is a magnifier looking into the society of bourgeois and the fooled people by nationalism.
Thematically laying somewhere between Belle de Jour & Viridiana, Diary of a Chambermaid is probably one of Bunuel's most effective attacks on the hypocrisy and decadence of the bourgeoisie. By likening their rituals to those of the emerging fascist party in France, he compells the viewer to despise the "coming storm" of fascism as much as he does. Diary is another scintillating work by a great cinema provocateur.