France, around 1900. Coming from the vibrancy of Paris, pert Célestine is procured as a chambermaid in Normandy. In the Lanlaire's villa she encounters the lecherous man of the house and his asexual, tyrannical and jealous wife. Célestine is determined to avoid the fate suffered by the cook Marianne who has already secretly killed one child born out of wedlock and now despairingly realises she is pregnant again. The lively maid is intrigued by what the mysterious manservant Joseph is up to: he distributes anti-Semitic leaflets and suggests that she could work for him as a prostitute in Cherbourg ... Following in the footsteps of Jean Renoir (1946) and Luis Buñuel (1964), Benoit Jacquot employs Octave Mirbeau's novel to cast a sardonic eye on the bourgeoisie. Told from the perspective of the diary of a young woman who puts her sensuality to good use in order to secure the life she desires, Jacquot reflects upon the power of the apparently powerless and the impotence of the purportedly powerful. The figure of the servant uncovers the dark underbelly of the early 20th century, and also the insecurities of our present day.
by Benoit Jacquot
with Léa Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Clotilde Mollet, Hervé Pierre, Mélodie Valemberg, Patrick D'Assumçao, Vincent Lacoste, Joséphine Derenne, Dominique Reymond
France / Belgium 2015