In 1951, French writer Jean Genet presented a screenplay called Les Rêves Interdits/L'Autre Versant du Rêve to actress Anouk Aimée as a wedding gift. He then proceeded to sell the rights three times without telling her.
Eventually the script was reworked by Marguerite Duras and filmed by British director Tony Richardson as Mademoiselle, with Jeanne Moreau in the title role. In its final form, Mademoiselle tells the story of a repressed schoolteacher who visits a veritable plague of deliberate accidents on the people of her rural French village.
She sets fires, poisons animals, and causes floods -- all in a fit of thwarted passion for an immigrant woodcutter. Though Marlon Brando was originally set to play the role of the Italian craftsman, the part went to Ettore Manni when the production schedule shifted.
Umberto Orsini plays Antonio, the woodcutter's forlorn son, whom Mademoiselle maliciously humiliates out of perverse desire for his father. A notoriously difficult shoot, Mademoiselle was filmed consecutively with The Sailor From Gibraltar, another collaboration between Richardson, Moreau, and Duras.
As for Genet, he despised the casting of Moreau; nevertheless, she would go on to star in Querelle, another adaptation of the author's work.