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The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (1972) - Luis Buñuel

Related: Luis Buñuel - 1972 - film - bourgeois

Stéphane Audran in
The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (1972) - Luis Buñuel [Amazon.com]

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (1972) - Luis Buñuel [Amazon.com]


Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie) is a surrealist 1972 film written and directed by Luis Buñuel, a Spanish-born film-maker who lived in Mexico. The film is in French and Spanish. It has been described as "a complex, shifting, virtually plotless web of dreams within dreams within dreams", and focuses on a group of upper middle-class people attempting (despite constant problems) to have a meal together. The film received the 1972 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film is articulated through a number of connected scenes: five gatherings of a group of bourgeois friends, and four dreams which are dreamt by different characters. The beginning of the film focuses more on the gatherings, while the latter part focuses more on the dreams, but the two types of scene are intermixed with each other. There are also other scenes, such as one focusing on a terrorist girl.

The film does not portray a coherent and logical world - the setting contains countless self-contradictions, but provides no explanation. Everything that happens is accepted by the characters even if it is impossible or contradictory with something else - this dreamlike atmosphere is at the core of the film's surrealism.

From the beginning of the film, things seem not to turn out well: the first thing we see is the perplexity of the guests at the house of their host, M. Senechal - they are told the supper was planned for the next day. 'But that is impossible', says Acosta, 'I couldn’t have accepted, tomorrow I’m busy'. There is contradiction and difficulty in every single detail in the next sequence: Mme and M Senechal are invited to dine out, but she has to change. The restaurant 'n'a pas l'air gai', and the door is locked. They knock and they are invited in. The owners have changed. There are no people and the prices are cheap. Everything is suspect. Then comes the first punch of the story: the manager died that afternoon and the wake has been set in the dining room since the undertaker has not yet arrived. Of course, the bourgeois leave. Reference to death is a constant theme in the film's surrealism. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Discreet_Charm_of_the_Bourgeoisie [May 2005]

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