Moreau as the beautiful, ambitious Célestine makes it from Downstairs to Upstairs by manipulating her right-wing boss (Piccoli), his leftish neighbour (Ivernel), and his fascist gamekeeper (Géret). Octave Mirbeau's muckraking 1900 novel has abiding insight into the deep structures of French political instability. Buñuel shifts the story to the rise of Fascism in the '30s. He digs right down to that spiritual gunge which links political, sexual and social positions (and impositions) as equal perversions of human desires (in turn perversions of animal desires). Like most Buñuel heroines, Célestine is intuitively a feminist, but before her time, and blows it by her egoism and ambivalence before male ruthlessness. Moreau's baleful charisma complements Buñuel's sardonic sadness. It's his greyest film since Nazarin, and all the more troubling for its impassive flow, which successive explosions of strange desire can never quite disturb.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Jean-Claude Carriere, Luis Buñuel|