Celestine, the chambermaid, has new job on the country. The Monteils, who she works for are a group of strange people. The wife is frigid, her husband is always hunting (both animals and ... See full summary »
A surrealist tale of a man and a woman who are passionately in love with each other, but their attempts to consummate that passion are constantly thwarted by their families, the Church, and bourgeois society.
Caridad de Laberdesque
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 <email@example.com>
In a 2004 interview Catherine Deneuve revealed that making the film "wasn't a terribly positive experience" for her. She felt that Luis Buñuel had been isolated from the actors by the producers, and there had been a breakdown in communication as a result. She felt "very exposed in every sense of the word," she said, "but very exposed physically, which caused me distress; I felt they showed more of me than they'd said they were going to...There were moments when I felt totally used. I was very unhappy." See more »
When Mr. Adolphe first unzips Belle's dress she has a slip under it, but when she rushes out and then comes back in, Adolphe unzips her dress again and she isn't wearing the slip anymore. See more »
One of Bunuel's more well-known works; an interesting morality story with Deneuve
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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