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La Cérémonie Movie Poster
Plot, Details & Awards

La Cérémonie

(1995)
109min.
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Plot & Details

When Catherine Lelievre (Jacqueline Bisset) hires mousy and taciturn Sophie (Sandrine Bonnaire) as a housemaid, she thinks that she found a treasure. Mr. Lelievre (Jean-Pierre Cassel) seems to agree with her, pointing out that the maid just has yet to learn how to serve dinner correctly. Wealthy liberals, they treat her generously enough and expect diligence and reliability in return. However, Sophie didn't tell her new employers that she is dyslexic, and very soon she has terrible troubles with even such supposedly ordinary things as shopping lists. She befriends outspoken postal clerk Jeanne (Isabelle Huppert), who occasionally helps her with the above-mentioned lists and tells her all sorts of gossip about the Lelievre family. Mr. Lelievre, who suspects that Jeanne opens their mail, tells Sophie that Jeanne was charged with the murder of her four-year-old daughter and though she was later acquitted, he can't believe in her innocence. Thus he forbids Sophie to invite Jeanne to the Lelievre house, and the tension between Sophie and her employers increases. What could have been a thriller in the hands of a different director, in the case of Claude Chabrol has become another witty and observant social commentary about the eternal confrontation between the rich and the poor. Ruth Rendell's novel A Judgement in Stone was previously filmed in 1986 in Canada.

French Academy of Cinema

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1995 French Academy of Cinema Best Picture Nominated
1995 French Academy of Cinema Best Actress Isabelle Huppert Won

Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Foreign Film Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 National Board of Review Best Foreign Film Nominated

National Society of Film Critics

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1996 National Society of Film Critics Best Foreign Film Won

Venice International Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
1995 Venice International Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actress Isabelle Huppert Won
1995 Venice International Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actress Sandrine Bonnaire Won

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