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The Virgin of Pessac

A Feature film by Jean Eustache

Produced by Moullet et Cie

Production year : 1969

  • Contents

Production and distribution (3)

Executive Producer :

Moullet et Cie

Film exports/foreign sales :

Mercure Distribution

Co-production :



In the small town of Pessac, where Eustache was born, the preparations for an annual contest to crown a village’s most virtuous young woman.


Eustache's first documentary is a fiercely funny portrait of small-town life and politics. Just before the events of May 1968, Eustache returned to his hometown of Pessac to film the traditional election of the rosière, the town's most virtuous young woman. Eustache captures "the hypocrisies, incongruities and general ridiculousness that dominate such campaigns" (Luc Moullet) with utter objectivity, leaving the young mayor and his cohorts to bumble, blunder, and make fools of themselves. "A devastating look at pomposity, naiveté, and human foibles" (Variety); "a triumph of unprompted deadpan humour" (Moullet).

Source :


Director Jean Eustache was born in Pessac, France. He returned there in 1968 to film the annual ceremony in which the town's most virtuous girl is elected. First, we see the town meeting, where nominees are named, votes are taken, and the decision is made. The committee then walks to the girl's house, and informs her. Then we see the march in to the church, the church sermon, the mayor's speech, and the commemorative dinner.

This movie (incredibly hard to get to see) is perfect for those who want to see ordinary daily life unfiltered and without commentary. Eustache simply films the events described above. It's a very amiable film and a very enjoyable one. It's the way France was, circa 1968. However, to understand this film completely, you then have to watch the 1979 version...

Source : IMDb

Full credits (5)

Assistant director :

Françoise Lebrun

Director of Photography :

Philippe Théaudière

Editor :

Jean Eustache

Producer :

Luc Moullet

Sound recordists :

Jean-Pierre Ruh, Alain Sempé

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Themes :

Femininity, Adolescence

Production language :


Production country :


Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

100% French (France)

Production year :


French release :

Runtime :

1 h 5 min

Current status :

Approval :


Production formats :


Color type :

Black & White

Aspect ratio :