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Belle de Jour (1967)
"Belle de jour" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  10 April 1968 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 23,395 users  
Reviews: 101 user | 113 critic

A frigid young housewife decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.

Director:

(as Luis Bunuel)

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Title: Belle de Jour (1967)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jean Sorel ...
...
...
Pierre Clémenti ...
Françoise Fabian ...
Charlotte
Macha Méril ...
Renee
Muni ...
Pallas
Maria Latour ...
Mathilde
Claude Cerval
Michel Charrel ...
Footman
Iska Khan ...
Asian client
Bernard Musson ...
Majordomo
Marcel Charvey ...
Prof. Henri
François Maistre ...
L'ensignant
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Storyline

Severine is a beautiful young woman married to a doctor. She loves her husband dearly, but cannot bring herself to be physically intimate with him. She indulges instead in vivid, kinky, erotic fantasies to entertain her sexual desires. Eventually she becomes a prostitute, working in a brothel in the afternoons while remaining chaste in her marriage. Written by James Meek <james@oz.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brothel | prostitute | surgeon | sex | marriage | See more »

Taglines:

Luis Bunuel's Masterpiece of Erotica!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

10 April 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Belle de Jour  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The comment by Pierre Serizy, "Semen retentum venenum est" is in Latin, and could be roughly translated as "To retain one's semen is poisonous" or "To retain one's semen will allow it to eat away at one like a poison." See more »

Goofs

When the client that wants to be spanked rejects Belle Du Jour she puts her robe back on but not her bra. Then when she sees the Asian client a few moments later, she takes off her robe and her bra is on. See more »

Quotes

Madame Anais: I have an idea. Would you like to be called "Belle de Jour"?
Séverine Serizy: Belle de Jour?
Madame Anais: Since you only come in the afternoons.
Séverine Serizy: If you wish.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Internal Affairs (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unique, Strange, and Memorable
6 May 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

The premise of BELLE DU JOUR is well known. A young, beautiful, and slightly frigid doctor's wife (Catherine Deneuve) secretly harbors fantasies of being dominated, humiliated, and abused by her husband (Jean Sorel.) When these fantasies can no longer be denied, she becomes a prostitute under the sponsorship of a possibly lesbian madam (Geneviève Page), working during the afternoons while her husband is at his own work. Her sexuality is awakened by the sometimes brutish clients, who soon discover that "she likes it rough," and she is ultimately caught up a relationship with a truly dangerous client (Pierre Clémenti) whose possessiveness threatens to destroy both her and her husband.

Throughout the film Deneuve slips in and out of memory and fantasy, sometimes recalling herself as a possibly molested child, sometimes imagining herself as the victim in a series of sexual assault fantasies. Director Bunuel, whose masterpiece this is, so blurs the line between memory, reality, and fantasy that by the film's conclusion one cannot be sure if some, most, or everything about the film has been Deneuve's fantasy.

Although it includes a number of impressive performances (particularly by Geneviève Page, her girls, and their clients), BELLE is essentially Deneuve's film from start to finish, and she gives an astonishing performance that cannot be easily described. Like the film itself, it is a balancing act between fantasy and a plausible reality that may actually be nothing of the kind. Bunuel presents both her and the film as a whole in an almost clinical manner, and is less interested in gaining our sympathy for the character than in presenting her as an object for intellectual observation.

Ultimately, BELLE DU JOUR seems to be about a lot of things, some of them obvious and some of them extremely subtle. And yet, given the way in which it undercuts its realities by blurring them with fantasy, it is also entirely possible that the film is not actually "about" anything except itself. Individuals who insist on clear-cut meanings and neatly wrapped conclusions will probably loathe it--but those prepared to accept the film on its own terms will find it a fascinating experience. Recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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