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Belle de Jour
Beautiful young housewife Séverine Serizy cannot reconcile her masochistic fantasies with her everyday life alongside dutiful husband Pierre. When her lovestruck friend Henri mentions a secretive high-class brothel run by Madame Anais, Séverine begins to work there during the day under the name Belle de Jour. But when one of her clients grows possessive, she must try to go back to her normal life.
|Studio :||Paris Films Productions, Five Films, Robert et Raymond Hakim,|
|Crew :||Assistant Art Director, Set Decoration,|
|Cast :||Catherine Deneuve Luis Buñuel Michel Piccoli Jean Sorel Geneviève Page|
|Genre :||Drama Romance|
Such a frustrating disappointment
just watch it!
It is an exhilarating, distressing, funny and profound film, with one of the more memorable film scores in years,
Not sure how, but this is easily one of the best movies all summer. Multiple levels of funny, never takes itself seriously, super colorful, and creative.
One description of 'Belle de jour' that I read described the film, at some point, as being like a daydream. Nothing could be closer to the truth. Bunuel, Bunuel, Bunuel! One of cinema's all time greats, and a personal favorite filmmaker of mine for a few years now! 'Belle de jour' may be his greatest masterpiece, although I personally do prefer the likes of 'L'age d'Or', 'Viridiana', and 'Simon of the Desert', I feel like 'Belle de jour' can certainly be considered the most genuinely high quality film in his prolific and more than impressive cinematic oeuvre. It contains many of the elements that make Bunuel such a beloved and brilliant artist; the humor is there, the tragedy/drama is there, the strange sexual content is there, and the classic sense of surrealism all his greatest films have utilized so wonderfully is perfected here. This is Bunuel at the top of his game, blurring the already-blurry lines between cinematic fantasy and cinematic reality, playing w/flashbacks and dream sequences and never keeping absurdity out of the question no matter the setting or situation. And sexuality is portrayed with as much confusion and wild surrealist hijinks as is necessary when attempting to explore such a mess of a topic. Few filmmakers (or artists, whether they be authors or painters or whatever, for that matter) can depict sexuality quite like Bunuel can. 'Belle de jour' harkens back to Bunuel's much earlier masterpiece, 'L'age d'Or', which depicted sex w/a raging sort of surrealist accuracy that struck something in people, turning them angrily against him and his work, making them set fires to some cinemas in which it played, banning his obscene and blasphemous black comedy of horrors, and 'Belle de jour' may strike a similar emotional reaction to those of a more archaic sensibility, and the same energy said archaic-types may muster up in response may be utilized by film lovers across the globe to tear their hearts out in gripping love and admiration for Bunuel and this fantastical film!
Catherine Deneuve is perfectly cast as a frigid, rich, bored wife who decides to explore her carnal urges by sidelining as a prostitute in this deceptively straight forward film by Luis Bunuel.Deneuve plays Severine, who loves her husband but can't open herself to him sexually. Brief flashbacks hint at traumas in her past which may contribute to her struggles as an adult. In any case, she's turned on by the idea of servicing men for pay, which she does under the tutelage of Madame Anais, who runs a tasteful brothel in the city. Whether this little experiment of Severine's is a success or not is left ambiguous. Taken literally, the film suggests that Severine is liberated by being allowed to explore her sexuality with strangers and therefore becomes a better wife in the process. But Severine is an unreliable narrator, and in typical Bunuel style, the film blends fantasy with reality to the point where we don't know where one ends and the other begins. Is Severine drawn to prostitution as a way to take control over something that scares her? Or is she punishing herself in a way for things that have happened to her in the past, as is typical in many who have been sexually abused? Bunuel himself has said that he isn't really sure how his own movie ends, so how are we supposed to? But it doesn't matter. The point isn't the ending, but rather the psychic exploration of a woman who on the surface is dull as dishwater but who internally harbors a rich and complicated personality.Grade: A
Belle de Jour (1967): Dir: Luis Bunuel / Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Genevieve Page, Michael Piccoli, Pierre Clementi: Rousing erotic masterpiece that takes the whole idea of secret lifestyles and prostitution from its common place during the night hours and places it within the midst of day. Catherine Deneuve stars as the delusional housewife of a wealthy surgeon whom she is unable to commit herself sexually. She has submissive fantasies such as being tied up or being plastered with mud. She eventually discovers a brothel where she embarks upon erotic sexual play with males of all class and race. She is reluctant yet curious. What is interesting is the world she now inhabits and the dangers that accompany it. Insightful directing by Luis Bunuel who previously directed Deneuve in Tristana. Deneuve is compelling as she descends into fantasy not realizing the dangers or consequences. Jean Sorel as her husband accepts her unwilling sexual nature yet becomes the victim of her double life. Genevieve Page plays the brothel head who makes the demands yet accepts her willingness to leave. Michael Piccoli plays a blackmailing friend of her husband's who introduced her to the brothel until having second thoughts. Pierre Clementi plays the obsessive young gangster who desires more than a kinky afternoon delight. Brilliantly crafted examination of brothels and the women who inhabit them. Score: 10 / 10
Greetings again from the darkness. Nearly 50 years have passed since director Luis Bunuel brought the 1928 novel of Joseph Kessel to the big screen. It's a story of erotic fantasy told with Bunuel's unique surrealistic style. The film also presents a young Catherine Deneuve at her most striking.Ms. Deneuve's Severine plays the bored housewife to her doctor husband (Jean Sorrel). He is extremely patient and understanding of her coldness in the bedroom, and it's clear that she loves him, despite the lack of physical attraction. Soon enough, we are provided a glimpse of Severine's masochistic fantasies. It's not until later that we begin to understand what drives her imagination.Severine deflects the advances of an older family friend played by Michael Piccoli, who is so attracted by her purity, and unknowingly leads her into a world that might satisfy her in ways that her gentleman husband hasn't. When Severine meets Madam Anais (Genevieve Page), she begins playing out her fantasies through the afternoon shift at the brothel ... all while keeping up appearances for society.Bunuel provides us teases of the source through flashbacks and sound effects - a carriage harness bell and the periodic meows of a cat. It's never Bunuel's intent to answer all questions, and he certainly makes no moral judgment towards Severine. Instead we get an exploration of the variances in love, sex and fantasy.In the end, we aren't absolutely certain that we can distinguish between Severine's reality and her fantasy, but we do understand the importance of her fantasies within the structure of her day to day life. If watching Ms. Deneuve perform in this gem motivates you to see more, I would recommend Roman Polanski's Repulsion. Also, it should be noted that she still acts today.