The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Blu-ray
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Directed by Luis Bunuel
Produced in 1972
Main Language - French with English subtitles
A wonderful late Buñuel in which he shows with relish the desires, greed and bad consciences that sandpaper away beneath the smiling facades of bourgeois politesse, writes Graeme Hobbs.
Activities interrupted or endlessly deferred thread through Bunuel's films from L'Age d'Or onwards, and form the core of his The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, in which six somewhat respectable people (plus a bishop) gather to eat at one another's houses or a restaurant, with their attempts continually frustrated by crossed dates, death, fear of arrest, military manouvres and dreams - especially dreams. Indeed, by the end, the stories are so nested within one another that it is hard to call to mind what was a characters' dream and what wasn't - a distinction that Bunuel was always glad to dispense with anyway.
As the friends maintain their composure and trite conversation in the face of adversity, their desires, greed, bad consciences and dark deceptions sandpaper away beneath the smiling facades of their bourgeois politesse. And although Bunuel's camera glides as self-effacingly as ever through his characters' gatherings (indulging in his favoured obsessions - guns, a shapely leg - along the way), his wry amusement at their predicament is not innocent, noting as it does the drug deals and trade-offs that keep such types in the foie gras they don't get to eat.
The title of the film came after the script was written, but fits as snug around its subject as one of Fernando Rey's silk dressing-gowns.
Graeme Hobbs on 19th June 2012
Author of 276 reviews
The most assured and relaxed of Luis Bunuel's late films, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie was also one of his biggest commercial and critical successes. The bourgeoisie of the title are a group of six seemingly respectable friends who repeatedly gather to dine, with their meals interrupted by unforeseen eventualities and surreal incidents. Bunuel lays into all of his corrupt old enemies with elegance and accessibility.
Jean-Pierre Cassel, Delphine Seyrig, Stéphane Audran, Bulle Ogier and long-time Buñuel collaborators Fernando Rey and Paul Frankeur head the extraordinary cast of this 1972 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film.
Length: 102 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.66:1
Cat No: OPTBD2353
Format: Blu-ray Colour
- Introduction by Peter Evans, professor of film studies