That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • 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...

  • Recounted in flashback are the romantic perils of Mathieu, a middle-aged French sophisticate as he falls for his nineteen year-old former chambermaid Conchita.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • To have one role played by two actresses prompts one to speculate that the director intended to have different aspects of her personality shown by the one or the other. When asked about this, however, Fernando Rey told me personally that was not the case. They merely had two actresses they liked and decided to use them both because they couldn't pick obe over the other. Considering Luis Bunel's surrealistic inclinations throughout his career -- and throughout this film -- there was no question Rey was correct. After all, he was there and anyone who knows women knows what you get one day may not be what's there the next.

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