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A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.
Paul Thomas Anderson
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Just after boarding a train, much to the surprise of his fellow passengers, a man pours a bucket of water over a young girl on the platform. Over the next few hours he explains (and we see in flashback) how he became obsessed by her (so much so that he failed to notice that she was played by two different actresses, representing different sides of her personality), and how she tantalised him, but would never allow him to satisfy his desire for her... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First I would like to clarify the issue of the two actresses playing the same character, Conchita. Bunuel initially worked with Maria Schneider (Last tango in Paris) for the title role. In the course of shooting the film Maria Schneider quit; her reasons were that she could not understand, and therefor portray, the character as was requested by Bunuel. This honesty is to this actress' credit. Then Bunuel took the full logic of the character, Conchita, as a bi-faceted character indeed, sometimes cool and calm and serene (played by the quietly beautiful Carole Bouquet) and on other times sensuous and hot and lustful (played by the fiery beauty Angela Molena).
Now what can one say about this masterpiece of a film? It is the eternal story of man chasing woman, to satisfy his earthly desires, and the woman who is sometimes romantic, sometimes wild, always passionate and self-conscious, driving the man mad, humiliating him and toying with him, then again satisfying his ego and deepest fantasies and even truly loving him. Freud knew it all along. Man and woman are surrounded by inexplicable events, absurd, surreal, strange as life can be. And their game goes on. In the course of the film Bunuel "winks" and reminds us of his eternal dislikes of the "bourgeoisie" -here in the form of an upper class rich and corrupt diplomat- who are genuinely so keen on etiquette and good manners, as evidenced by the rat that appears on the main character's dish ! and also the director's dislike of the church establishment and supposedly "devout" people as evidenced by the hypocrisy of Conchita's mother practically selling her daughter. It's a superb film, summarizing the eternal relationship between man and woman, amid normal extra-ordinary events, with top class actors under the directorship of Bunuel the genius.
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