Belle Toujours DVD
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Directed by Manoel de Oliveira
Produced in 2006
Main Language - French with English subtitles
David Parkinson praises Portuguese filmmaker Manoel De Oliveira's tribute to Luis Bunuel's masterful exercise in surreal eroticism.
It takes a film-maker of rare courage and confidence to sequelise such an iconic picture as Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour (1967) and it's very much to his credit that cine-centurion Manoel De Oliveira does it with such discreet charm. Exquisitely photographed by Sabine Lancelin, this is an acerbic dissertation on desire, power, physicality. memory and lost time that tantalises with its tainted nostalgia and mordant wit. Moreover, it's also an inspired exercise in self-reflexivity that exposes how rarely even arthouse cinema dares to make such intellectual demands upon its audience.
Indulging in the very Buñuelian conceit of casting Bulle Ogier in the role originally taken by Catherine Deneuve (who declined a reprise), De Oliveira revisits the dual actress as one character joke from That Obscure Object of Desire (1977). But the emphasis is firmly on the predatory Michel Piccoli, who remains the prisoner of passions that now mock him as cruelly as the enigma he once betrayed by informing her husband that she worked
clandestinely as a prostitute in order to satisfy her sado-masochistic lusts.
David Parkinson on 29th May 2009
Author of 191 reviews
Portuguese filmmaker Manuel de Oliveira pays homage to Luis Bunuel's masterful exercise in surreal eroticism with this latter-day tribute.
Forty years after Catherine Deneuve explored the sexual fantasies of Severine in Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour, Manoel de Oliveira - who celebrated his 100th birthday this year - mischievously revisits the 1967 masterpiece. Severine is now played by a blonde-wigged Bulle Ogier (who has her own scandalous cinematic past thanks to Barbet Schroeder's Maitresse), and she's not at all pleased to find herself pursued by former client Henri (played once again by Belle de Jour's Michel Piccoli). This is a sly and subtle homage to the original film, with de Oliveira finding his own way to reveal the characters' perversities.
Length: 68 mins
Cat No: ICA015DVD
Format: DVD Colour