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
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 <email@example.com>
Director Luis Bunuel is often described as a surrealist, but the word misapplied in reference to his later works, where the the term absurdism is much more appropriate. Such is the case with the Academy Award-winning THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, which begins with four friends who arrive at their hosts' home only to discover they have arrived on the wrong night--a plausible situation. But before the film has run its course, Bunuel unravels his tale of a meal that never quite happens in the most unexpected ways imaginable.
The film works on several levels, mocking social conventions, the church, and eventually spilling its action into a series of overlapping nightmares in which various attempts to dine are frustrated by everything from the corpse of a restaurant manager in a nearby room to military maneuvers. On one memorable occasion, the friends are invited to dine and are seated around an elegant table--when a curtain suddenly rises behind them and reveals them to be seated on a stage before a hostile audience! The cast (which features Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur, Bulle Ogier, Stephane Audran and Jean-Pierre Cassel as the constantly frustrated diners) plays with considerable aplomb, performing the most irrational scenes with a magnificent realism. When combined with Bunuel's absurdist story, the result is a disquieting yet often very funny discourse on frustrated appetites both real and imagined, and with many layers of incidental meaning along the way.
A word of caution to the uninitiated: Bunuel is not for those who seek a tidy plot line with clear-cut meanings. But if you come to it with an open mind, you'll find plenty of food for thought!
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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