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Belle de Jour (1967)

Belle de jour (original title)
Approved | | Drama | 10 April 1968 (USA)
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A frigid young housewife decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.

Director:

(as Luis Bunuel)

Writers:

(novel) (as Joseph Kessel de l'Académie Française), (adaptation) (as Luis Bunuel) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. 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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Luis Bunuel's Masterpiece of Erotica!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | 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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luis Buñuel shot the opening sequence outdoors near a country estate. It was during the very first day of shooting this opening sequence that Buñuel heard about some complaints from his actors. "An assistant came over to tell me the actors wanted to talk to me," said Buñuel. It concerned the syrupy dialogue between Pierre and his bride Séverine before the violent sexual attack. "Sorel had crossed out his lines and had written 'his' dialogue over them," Buñuel continued. "'What have you done?' I asked him. Very politely, he said, 'Excuse me, sir, doesn't this seem ridiculous to you?' 'Yes,' I told him, 'but don't you know what happens afterwards? After this banal dialogue, you begin to beat her with a whip, to drag her through the mud. Just deliver it as it is written.' And that's how he said it." See more »

Goofs

Marcel breaks the glass and oval frame to vent his anger. The same frame and picture are unbroken later. 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

References Breathless (1960) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of Bunuel's more well-known works; an interesting morality story with Deneuve
19 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Luis Bunuel, notorious for his use of simple, striking, yet un-cannily affecting surrealism in movies, keeps it down to a lower (yet still imaginative) key for Belle Du Jour. This works though because un-like a film like Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie where surrealism was like another character amidst the other character's dreams and nightmares, this one only keeps in surrealism for the sake of the lead character's inner demons poking up through the every-day malaise. This lead, Severine, is played in one of Catherine Deneuve's key career performances, that finds that two-sided-ness she feels while married to her husband Pierre.

She loves him, but there's something that she's not getting out of the marriage that's leaving her empty, aimless, and her fantasies- however in the realm of (dark) fantasy- go to show she needs to do something during the day. She then finds out about a high-class brothel with only a couple of workers already employed. At first reluctant, she gives in to her temptations, serving the odder types of Paris looking for a good time, with one of them, Marcel (Pierre Clementi) falling head over heels for her.

What seemed most intriguing about the film was how Bunuel dealt with the themes- the two crucial ones being morality and sexuality. His imagery is direct, maybe too direct, but it gets its points across with a realism that is alluring and far & away (almost like a satire of such a life). She can't stop what she's started, and she doesn't really know how to end it unless she gets caught.

Then with the sexuality, it's never over-emphasized (i.e. no nudity, outside of a quick couple of shots of nudity), and no one is shown having sex on screen. What comes out is the emotional tally of Severine, the other girls, and the supporting characters that come in and out of the brothel. It may seem dated at moments, and the observatory notes go to making the film seem a tad longer than it is. But never-the-less, Belle de Jour is a worthwhile, memorable effort of the 1960's cinema.

And, at many times, it's quite funny. More than that, a laugh riot.


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