A Masterful Collaboration
Catherine Deneuve is perfectly cast as an upper-class Parisian housewife who decides to spend her afternoons working in a brothel in Luis Bunuel's subversive masterpiece which proves that intimation can be just as effective as exploitation. Just about everything here--especially the shocking conclusion--is open to interpretation, from impulse to rationalization, and it's to Bunuel's genius that he is able to stand back, letting his audience fill in the gaps in their imagination and, if necessary, implicate themselves. And in Deneuve, Bunuel has found a brilliant blank canvas for the audience to express themselves upon; never fully clear on her motivations (though some tantalizing flashbacks offer hints), she alternates between classic French coldness and classic French passion and though she's intentionally unreachable, she's always fully aware of how to manipulate the spell she's cast over you. A great example of a master of cinema in deep collaboration with a master actress--their exploration of the female psyche runs the gamut of every possible emotion while never being crass or lowering themselves to merely reducing and simplifying.
- Sep 18, 2002
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