Mademoiselle (1966 film)

Mademoiselle is a 1966 French - British drama film directed by Tony Richardson. The dark drama won a BAFTA award and nomination and was featured in the 2007 Brooklyn Academy of Music French film retrospective. Jeanne Moreau plays an undetected sociopath, arsonist and poisoner, a respected visiting schoolteacher and sécretaire at the Mairie in a small French village.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byTony Richardson
Produced byOscar Lewenstein
Written byMarguerite Duras, Jean Genet
StarringJeanne Moreau
Music byAntoine Duhamel
CinematographyDavid Watkin
Edited bySophie Coussein
Anthony Gibbs
Distributed byLopert Pictures Corporation
Release date
June 1966 (France)
August 1966 (US)
January 1967 (UK)[1]
Running time
105 minutes
United Kingdom
Box office$575,000[2]


As the film begins, Mademoiselle is shown opening floodgates to inundate the village, so there's never a moment in the film that the audience believes she's a normal upstanding citizen, as the villagers do. But the film provides little insight into her motivation; she has no cause for revenge, and acquires no material gain or increased standing in the community from her furtive crimes. Later, she sets fire to houses and poisons the drinking troughs, causing the death of farm animals.

Out of pure prejudice, an Italian woodcutter (Manou, played in Italian by Ettore Manni) is the chief suspect. Sexual tension arises between Mademoiselle and Manou during a series of encounters in the forest. Finally, after a night of somewhat perverse intimacy in the fields, she falsely denounces him and the villagers hack him to death.

In a final scene, as Mademoiselle is leaving the village for ever, it is made obvious that the woodcutter's son (and Mademoiselle's former pupil) knows the secret.


Having a script written by Marguerite Duras based on a story by Jean Genet, Mademoiselle could pass as an art film, a sexual thriller, or subtle horror.


The film was shot on location in and around the tiny village of Le Rat, in the Corrèze département of central France. The entire production team stayed in what accommodation they could find locally for the duration of the shoot.

The director always saw Jeanne Moreau as the lead. He originally wanted Marlon Brando for the male lead, but scheduling could not be arranged.



The film was released on DVD by MGM Home Entertainment in the United States in 2002.


1967 - Won: BAFTA award for Best Costume Design in B&W [British] (Costume designer Jocelyn Rickards won).[3]

1968 - Nominated: BAFTA Film Award: BAFTA Best British Cinematography (B/W) (Cinematographer David Watkin nominated).[3]

The film was entered into the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.[4]


  1. "IMDB: Mademoiselle (1966) - Release dates". Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  2. Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company That Changed the Film Industry, University of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p. 246
  3. "IMDB: Mademoiselle (1966) - Awards". Retrieved 21 March 2010.
  4. "Festival de Cannes: Mademoiselle". Retrieved 8 March 2009.
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