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La Cérémonie (1995)

La cérémonie (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 20 December 1996 (USA)
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A newly hired maid for a rich countryside family befriends a post-office clerk who encourages her to rebel against her employers.

Director:

Claude Chabrol

Writers:

Ruth Rendell (novel), Claude Chabrol (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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9 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Jeanne la postière
Sandrine Bonnaire ... Sophie la bonne
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Georges Lelievre
Jacqueline Bisset ... Catherine Lelievre
Virginie Ledoyen ... Melinda
Valentin Merlet Valentin Merlet ... Gilles
Julien Rochefort Julien Rochefort ... Jeremie
Dominique Frot ... Madame Lantier
Jean-François Perrier ... Priest
Ludovic Brillant Ludovic Brillant
Claire Chiron Claire Chiron
Claire-Marie Dentraygues Claire-Marie Dentraygues
Jean-Pierre Descheix Jean-Pierre Descheix
Penny Fairclough Penny Fairclough
Alain Françoise Alain Françoise
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Storyline

The upper-class owner of a gallery, Catherine Lelievre, hires the efficient and quiet maid Sophie to work in the family manor in the French countryside. Her husband Georges Lelievre, who is an opera lover, her daughter Melinda and her teenage son Gilles welcome Sophie and appreciate her work. Sophie soon befriends the postmistress Jeanne, who is a bad egg and encourages Sophie to rebel against her employers, but the maid stays submissive. However, Sophie is ashamed of a secret and feels uncomfortable in many situations, finding a way to hide her secret. When Georges tells Sophie that he does not want Jeanne in his house, Sophie stands up to him. Melinda discovers her secret and Sophie blackmails her, but Melinda tells her parents what happened. Georges fires Sophie and she returns to the house later with Jeanne on the rampage. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Germany

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La Cérémonie See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$49,843, 22 December 1996

Gross USA:

$76,882
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The author Ruth Rendell has said that Claude Chabrol's version of her novel "A Judgement in Stone" is one of the few film adaptations of her work that she is happy with. See more »

Quotes

Georges Lelievre: [referring, respectively, to Sophie the illiterate maid and Jeanne the nosy postal clerk] What a pair: one can't read at all, and the other reads our mail.
See more »

Connections

Features Top Cat (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Still Impressive After Watching Many Years after the Release
30 December 2011 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

The upper-class owner of a gallery Catherine Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset) hires the efficient and quiet maid Sophie Bonhomme (Sandrine Bonnaire) for working in the family manor in the countryside of France. Her husband Georges Lelievre (Jean-Pierre Cassel), who is an opera lover, her daughter Melinda (Virginie Ledoyen) and her teenage son Gilles (Valentin Merlet) welcome Sophie and appreciate her work. Soon Sophie befriends the postmistress Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), who is a social outcast, and she encourages Sophie to rebel against her employers, but the maid stays submissive. However, Sophie is ashamed of a secret and feels uncomfortable in many situations, finding a way to hide her secret. When Georges tells to Sophie that he does not want Jeanne in his house, Sophie stands up against him. Melinda discovers her secret and Sophie blackmails her, but Melinda tells her parents what has happened. Georges fires Sophie and she returns to the house later with Jeanne on the rampage with tragic consequences.

"La Cérémonie" is one of the best films by Claude Chabrol and it is still impressive after watching many years after the release. The poignant story of class conflict, alienation and even evilness of two outcast working class women stays in the mind of the viewer since it might happen to anyone that has a maid at home. The unexpected violent conclusion is probably the source of inspiration for Michael Haneke's "Funny Games" (1997). It is impossible to the viewer to be not affected by the despicable and cruel behavior of the repressed Sophie and the envious Jeanne. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Mulheres Diabólicas" ("Evil Women")

Note: On 21 April 1999 I saw this film again.

Note On 08 May 2017 I saw this film again.


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