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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Luis Buñuel
Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie
France 1972 / 105’
Jessica Hausner's choice

Buñuel's legendary film is filled with a cast of characters that includes two married couples, a bishop dressed as a gardener, the ambassador of the Republic of Miranda, a pot-smoking colonel, and several other individuals from French high society. They do not go very far, however, mainly from the couch to the table and back again. As Adam Garbicz wrote, the Spanish surrealist is examining "specimens of the fauna of good manners, playing with them with the pleasure of an exceedingly clever little boy." He takes as his research subject the indestructible French bourgeoisie, not without irony, observing them during their various interminable rituals that include wardrobe changes, eating sophisticated dishes, playing erotic games, exchanging pleasantries, and making witty retorts. Even their pouting and migraines are only in the best taste. Or is all of this just a dream? But whose dream? Exposing the boredom and superficiality of social conventions, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a testament to Buñuel's deep-rooted dislike of bourgeois values, as well as to his endless layers of absurd humor. It was one of Federico Fellini's favorite films.

Adam Kruk

awards

Oscars 1972 - Best Foreign Language Film; BAFTA 1972 - Best Screenplay

Luis Buñuel

Luis Buñuel was a Spanish surrealist director and one of the greatest filmmakers in world cinema. Having studied in Madrid, he moved to Paris in 1925, where he made An Andalusian Dog and The Golden Age in collaboration with Salvador Dali. His later creative life was divided between Mexico (The Young and the DamnedThe Young One), Spain (Viridiana, Tristana), and France (Diary of a ChambermaidBelle de Jour). Faithfully dealing with subjects such as religion, sex, and death, he consistently attacked ossified conventions and exposed the hypocrisy of bourgeois morality.

Selected filmography

1928 Pies andaluzyjski / Un Chien andalou / An Andalusian Dog

1950 Zapomniani / Los olvidados / Los Olvidados

1958 Nazarín / Nazarin 

1965 Szymon Pustelnik / Simon del desierto / Simon of the Desert

1977 Mroczny przedmiot pożądania / Cet obscur objet du désir / That Obscure Object of Desire

Cast & Crew

director Luis Buñuel
screenplay Luis Buñuel, Jean-Claude Carrière
cinematography Edmond Richard
editing Hélène Plemiannikov
music Galaxie Musique
cast Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stéphane Audran, Bulle Ogier, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Paul Frankeur, Julien Bertheau, Michel Piccoli
producer Serge Silberman
production Greenwich Film Productions
sales Tamasa Distribution
language French, Spanish
colouration colour