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You can skip movies 10 times but never go back.
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together.
What can I say; I think I’ve found a new favourite director after a single film.
Buñuel has the same high regard for both his characters and audience alike. Like a cat with a mouse, he toys with them; tosses them up in the air, bats them about a while, then sits back and watches them wobble and stumble about; all the time his tail gingerly flicking. Just when you think you have your bearings; and escape into a lush field of meaning is within grasp; he pounces again.
I’ve read that Buñuel was an accomplished hypnotist in his youth, and that he believed that the movies were a form of hypnotism. I believe it; I’m still in a trance.
A winding, inescapable nightmare separated by emptiness. If this wasn't so harshly hilarious it would be impossible to take in, mainly because entitlement doesn't seem like a topic to showcase without a certain measure of levity. Its structure, beginning like an awkward play of misunderstandings, soon dissolves into a satirical depiction of grating realities, utilizing the energy of chaos as a contrast between the consistently still and contained imagery. Even the most surrealistic incident within this dreamlike series of events carries an unflinching eye, viewing all the strange and despicable behavior like a curious animal; wide-eyed and casually attentive.
Don't you hate it when restaurants run out of water?
When I first heard the title, I thought, "Finally! Someone's going to tell the truth about the bourgeoisie!" What a disappointment. It would be hard to imagine a less fair or, or accurate portrait.
Hard to quantify the cumulative satirical force this movie brings to bear, as it maintains the same level of genial drollery from start to finish. I always start out mildly amused, wind up gobsmacked...but it seems entirely possible that shuffling the scenes at random would have much the same effect. It's just a single pointed joke that gets funnier and funnier, abetted by a sextet of actors who refrain from any winking or nudging—Bulle Ogier in particular achieves maximum vacuity without calling attention to herself…
Another Buñuel and again I must rhyme;
Appropriate since it's much weirder this time.
Though unlike before where things start with the feast
In ...Charm it seems eating's like sex to a priest:
Forbidden, taboo, and declined against will
Though suffering fools keep attempting their fill.
A sextet of dilettantes (much like before)
Discuss what is proper, indulgent, and more.
But there where 'society' deemed what is right,
Cocaine/infidelity/murder's our plight.
A strange set of morals; I guess that's the key
To poke fun at people more, well, discreetly.
Their wealth and their social esteem's much less clear
And so is their odd way of showing good cheer.
Confounded by knocking at every turn,
That damned door's bad luck, yet…
Christopher Nolan eat your heart out, because The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie has an even wilder dream-in-dream-in-dream-in-dream construction than Inception. The entire film revolves around sextet of middle-class friend who attempt to dine together, but who are repeatedly interrupted by the most mildly absurd circumstances that are nevertheless nonchalantly accepted by each of them, spawning a bizarre pseudo-world that constantly fools the audience. Starting off as merely amusing, the joke of the unachievable dinner plans builds and builds and builds into something much larger that gets funnier with every twist and turn. The same formula applies to the ‘side-stories’, such as the one centred on the alleged deprivation of the fictitious Republic of Miranda of which one of the…
Holy bejeezus, what an odd film. I mean truly odd. Not in the Lynch way, though, but in some completely new way. Sometimes it plays out like a Monty Python skit. Sometimes it feels like French New Wave. Sometimes it feels like a laugh track is missing. Sometimes it comes this close to slapstick but without the pay-off. It is definitely satire, though, that much I can say with confidence. The film pokes fun at so many things it could be (and probably has been) the subject of many a PhD dissertation.
I honestly can't write a review of it, at least not without spending way too much time I don't have right now reading about it.
All I can say is it is truly odd, and compelling and engaging and I loved it. I really loved it.
Vincent Canby wrote in his 1972 review of the film, “In addition to being extraordinarily funny and perfectly acted, The Discreet Charm moves with the breathtaking speed and self-assurance that only a man of Buñuel’s experience can achieve without resorting to awkward ellipsis.”
I didn't like this quite as much as The Exterminating Angel, but it's a nice, inverse of that other film.
Nobody poked fun at the upper classes quite like the surrealist maestro Luis Bunuel. His 1972 film "The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie," which won the Best Foreign Film Oscar, is a cheerfully cynical jab at the affluent and pretentious. But Bunuel, a rebel until his death at the age of 83, devilishly uses surrealism to make us laugh and smirk.
This is the flip side of his 1964 "The Exterminating Angel," where rich Mexican dinner guests cannot leave a mansion for unexplained reasons, here French aristocrats can't find a place to eat. Their routine is interrupted by everything from ghosts to terrorists. It's a knowing, funny and piercing film. The restored print by the Criterion Collection is excellent.
For the Love of Buñuel! - A week of surreal wonders
From the 14th to the 21st of September, I've been discovering the work of director Luis Buñuel on the streaming service "Stan". These are my thoughts on each film:
"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" is a playful and surreal critique of upper-class society. Mixing fantasy and comedy, several wealthy people attempt to have a sociable dinner together, but are constantly interrupted by an increasingly bizarre events. Bunuel and co-screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière examine topics such as the sexual hang ups of 'polite society', terrorism, social commentary on class, the Vietnam war, supernatural encounters, and dream sequences where logic falls apart, and the line between reality and fantasy are blurred.…
Like an onion of miserable meaninglessness.
222/366 for 2016
Like a politically inclined Roy Andersson film, with even more touches of Dali's influence with Bunuel than I expected. Still mulling it over, but wow is it fun and freaky.
I, too, am persecuted for trying to eat dinner.
Bunuel's film which concerns six members of the upper-class who constantly fail to have dinner together plays out like a bizarre nightmare with Bunuel constantly throwing his character's into surreal situations and watching them try to squirm out.
This film is possibly the closest thing I've seen to a David Lynch film plot wise in its surrealness and I'd guess that he was an influence on Lynch. Stylistically however the film is a lot more straightforward and it never tries to unnerve the viewer and instead aims mostly for comedy.
Playing out in wide shots with is as little editing as possible Bunuel playfully mocks religion, class and politics in the dream like world of the film. Funny and utterly fascinating Bunuel continues to be a director who is fascinating and hypnotic.
The first time I watched this, I was mostly taken by how funny and playful and incomprehensibly weird it was (I'm sure you can find my previous review somewhere on my profile). This time, I watched while taking notes for CINEMATARY.COM, and about halfway through I started to notice some interesting patterns...so I took it upon myself, after the movie ended, to try and trace the film's plot beats and to unravel the all the tangled dreams-within-dreams. Surprisingly, through doing this exercise I found out just how airtight and intentional this thing actually is on a structural level. I already knew it was SEINFELD, but now I've realized it's also ARABIAN NIGHTS.
Click the link below to my findings if you have seen the film at least once--if not, DO NOT CLICK. It will be more fun to go into the movie blind and then come back to this later.
Feel free to comment with corrections or questions!
I associate multiple sequential "it was a dream" fake-outs with 90s movies, but this makes good use of them in service of keeping a bunch of French assholes from eating dinner together. This was really funny!
Frank Ocean’s list of his 100 favorite films, as published in “Boys Don’t Cry” on the release of his album,…