JESS FRANCO MONTH: Celestine Maid at Your Service (1974)

Based on the Octave Mirbeau novel Le Journal dune femme de chambre (Diary of a Chambermaid), this movie begins with Celestine (of course, Lina Romay) escaping a brothel as the police close in and end up in the country home of one of their clients, Comte de la Fraguette and, as you can imagine, they end up converting the entire home to the pleasures of, well, pleasure. Some of those folks are men, including Howard Vernon as a horny old man — go figure — and some are women, such as Franco regulars Catherine Laferriere, Pamela Stanford and Monica Swinn, a survivor of so many of Franco’s prison films.

That said, if you can get past all the lovemaking, the acts of darkness, the corking of onions, the schnoodlypooping, the unicorn pondering, the biblical knowledge seeking and the locking of legs and swapping gravy, you will discover that there’s a point in this: Celestine is here amongst the rich and pampered to preach her truth of living free.

There’s a review in Time Out of this movie that states, “An object lesson in how potentially liberating material can be manhandled into heavy-handed voyeurism treading an unresolved line between the Pasolini-inspired bawdy romp and Buñuelian subversion.”

This is someone that watched Lina Romay embodying a comedic ideal while at once being an object of sheer desire, a person that has no idea of what fun is and wanted to impress you because they read about Salo in a book.

Forget that.

I don’t think even Celestine could bonk said writer into being able to have a moment’s fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.