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New Bond girl MIA at the Berlin film festival

2015-02-09 20:00

Berlin - New Bond girl Lea Seydoux had to miss the Berlin film festival premiere of Benoit Jacqcuot's remake of Diary of a Chambermaid, in which she plays the starring role, due to "mishaps" during the James Bond film shoot, Jacquot said.

Jacquot's is the third remake of the gritty Belle Epoque "upstairs-downstairs" drama based on Octave Mirbeau's novel. Seydoux plays beautiful chambermaid Celestine who wants to escape servitude by just any means possible.

The French actor shared the top Palme d'Or prize in Cannes two years ago for her portrayal of a lesbian lover in Blue is the Warmest Colour. She had been shooting the new Bond film, Spectre, directed by Sam Mendes, in London.

"There have been some mishaps on the shoot over the last week, some accidents with the partner of the director and so the shooting schedule has been disrupted," Jacquot said, without providing details.

As Celestine, Seydoux resorts to prostitution, theft and, eventually, links up with a deeply anti-Semitic fellow servant who figures out a way to make their future together by robbing their masters.

Mirbeau's novel expressed the foibles of the upper class, portraying masters who took their female servants' sexual compliance as a given and sexually frustrated ladies of the house who place huge demands on their servants.

In tackling Mirbeau's late 19th century work, Jacquot was going up against two classics: One version made by fellow French director Jean Renoir in 1946 and another by Spanish director Luis Bunuel in 1964.

Jacquot said he admired both films but did not see either as rivals.

"There's such a distinction between those two existing films anyway that I said, 'Well, there'll be no problem to make a third film which will be just as different as those already are one from another'," he told a news conference.

He also said he thought the subject matter of the novel, which underscored the growing anti-Semitism in France fuelled by the Dreyfus affair, was as relevant now as then.

"I believe it's not at all a period film, evoking a disappeared world, something that's just vanished. It's our world in its incipient stage," he said.

The film is one of 19 contending for the top Golden Bear prize awarded next Saturday.

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