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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (original title)
PG | | Comedy | 22 October 1972 (USA)
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A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.

Director:

Luis Buñuel (as Luis Bunuel)

Writers:

Luis Buñuel (scenario) (as Luis Bunuel), Jean-Claude Carrière (with the collaboration of)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fernando Rey ... Don Rafael Acosta
Paul Frankeur ... François Thévenot
Delphine Seyrig ... Simone Thévenot
Bulle Ogier ... Florence
Stéphane Audran ... Alice Sénéchal (as Stephane Audran)
Jean-Pierre Cassel ... Henri Sénéchal
Julien Bertheau ... Monsignor Dufour
Milena Vukotic ... Ines
Maria Gabriella Maione ... Guerrilla
Claude Piéplu ... Colonel
Muni ... Peasant
Pierre Maguelon ... Police Sergeant
François Maistre François Maistre ... Inspector Delecluze
Michel Piccoli ... Interior Minister
Ellen Bahl Ellen Bahl
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Storyline

Several bourgeois friends planning to get together for dinner experience a succession of highly unusual occurrences that interfere with their expected dining enjoyment. Written by Ed Cannon <ecannon@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language film 1973

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Spanish

Release Date:

22 October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,864, 14 May 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$198,809, 3 December 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview, co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière revealed he and Bunuel had a starting point for the story but then became stuck. After meeting with the Producer, Serge Silberman, Silberman gave them inspiration when he recounted a story of how he had run into two Brazilian friends in the streets of Paris. Silberman invited these friends to do dinner the following Tuesday, forgetting that he had another dinner that day. It happened so quickly the producer forgot to tell his wife. The two Brazilians and their wives turned up to the Silberman household on the Tuesday night after Mrs Silberman had eaten and settled down for the night, and was watching TV in her dressing gown when the doorbell rang. This real-life event was used in the film for a similar scene. See more »

Goofs

After Rafael gives the terrorist champagne, his position in the chair changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Rafael Acosta: You're better suited for making love than for making war.
See more »

Connections

References The Exterminating Angel (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An incisive satire on social mores and class hypocracy
11 May 2004 | by ilpositionokbSee all my reviews

"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", a leisurely paced, incisive satire on social mores and class hypocrisy, opens with a group of friends arriving on the wrong day of a dinner engagement. this is only the begining of a succession of unexpected and unusual events to follow. The dinner party is the movie's main setting and it is there that reality and illusion often times blend imperceptibly together. The film is structured as a series of surreal sequences, which prompted esteemed film critic Pauline Kael to opine 'His(Director Louis Bunuel) indifference to dramatic logic is complete.' And how. Bunuel's narrative plays an elaborate game with the viewer through it's subconscious imagery and audacious use of time. His tendency to experiment with technique and form often times led to discovery and innovation. The cinema of Louis Bunuel invariably deals with the discrepancy between appearance and reality; decorum and desire. His world view was subversive and anarchistic. He was a cheerful pessimist, skeptical but not susceptible to Bergmanian despair. His skepticism extended to all of those he found playing too neat a social game. The filmmaker's career was one sustained assault on authoritarianism. Witness an indiscreet character in the film who claims: 'No one system can help the masses acquire refinement.' He believed man was, unconsciously, a slave to custom and aimed to shock viewers out of their unthinking acceptance of established values. "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie"(An Academy Award winner in 1972 for Best Foreign Film) is a boldly inventive picture. Dozens of frames are filled with clever filmic devices: environmental noises increase inordinately during routine conversations; an ambiguous procession is inserted freely within the text. These cinematic ploys add intrigue to the already peculiar goings-on. The walk by the main group of characters along a country roadside is mysterious and compelling. The players are noticeably silent and contemplative. Is this an anxious dream? The afterlife? An insignificant flashback? Whichever, the recurring sequence underscores the obliqueness and cool obscurity of the film. One might not identify closely with the disenchanted Bunuelian sensibility or the unsentimental stance he takes, however one knows immediately and unmistakably that they are in the gifted hands of a film technician like a Godard or Kurosawa. A director in complete control of his medium. A highly personal filmmaker frequently referred as 'a poet of hallucination who follows the caprices of his fantastical imagination.' Someone whose fanciful paths of creation were invariably led by the irrational. "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie", with it's arresting mixture of calculation and carelessness, remains a unique and influential movie. The acerbic films of Robert Altman and the perverse mischievousness of the Coen brothers films, to mention but a few, pay a large debt to the strange universe and unconventional perspective of Louis Bunuel. Film lovers uninitiated in surrealist cinema will find "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" an alluring and beguiling crash course.


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