XIIDX day 7: the help

There are some German phenomena, like Schlager, Currywurst and Wanderburschen which are ubiquitous within the country but almost unknown beyond. Another is a tradition which occurs annually, right at the end of the year; on New Year’s Eve television viewers in their millions watch an 18-minute black & white programme which most of them have seen numerous times before, in a language which is second to their mother tongue at best.

Dinner for One is a skit, in English, about a slightly gaga lady and her manservant who – to humour her – pretends to be various guests. In so doing he drinks various guests’ worth of alcohol and gets increasingly drunk. And…that’s more or less it.

While ruminating on how I could match that I thought of another film which explores upstairs/downstairs relations: The Servant, the 1963 film starring Dirk Bogarde and James Fox, scripted by Harold Pinter. In this scene the balance of power in the fraught relationship has irrevocably shifted and Bogarde’s sinister manservant is now calling the shots.

…much like the maid played by Jeanne Moreau (yes, her again) in Luis Buñuel’s Diary of a Chambermaid, made the following year:

About XIIDX, the Strange Flowers XII Days of Xmas Film Festival


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