Diary of a Chambermaid
In a promotional interview for Diary of a Chambermaid, star Jeanne Moreau was asked to which genre her latest film belonged. "It's a Buñuel film," she replied. An apt description for any work by the Spanish expatriate, an idiosyncratic director as deserving as Federico Fellini of having his name turned into an adjective. Luis Buñuel began his film career with the graphic Un Chien Andalou (1929), a collaboration with the artist Salvador Dali, and closed it with the scathing satire That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), sandwiching two dozen darkly hilarious and moving films between these extremities. Diary, an elegantly shot remake of Renoir's 1946 film (which Buñuel had not seen before filming his version in 1964), observes a pragmatic city-bred servant (Moreau) as she navigates the petty, obsessive demands of her rural bourgeois employers. After a horrifying murder occurs, she finds that life in the community proceeds largely unchanged. Diary of a Chambermaid is one of Buñuel's subtlest and gentlest films--which is to say it's both a savage indictment of a fascistic ruling class and a heartfelt ode to foot fetishism.