Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
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.
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…
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.
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.
This review was also posted on my blog here.
Luis Buñuel was one of cinema’s vicious attackers. He was ruthless, and scratched and screamed at class, religion, ideology and life in general. He despised the rules by which society lived. And he always carried with him everywhere a twisted but brilliant sense of humour. If Buñuel was not humorous, his movies would be painful, almost insufferable to watch. But no matter how dark and unforgiving he could be with his movies, he was always humorous. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is one of cinema’s great black comedies.
In a list I wrote five months ago, I named Discreet Charm the best film of the seventies. Now, looking back at…
A stunning skewering of middle/upper class mores that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Of Luis Buñuel's feature length work I had only seen the dreamy, insouciant Belle du Jour so I wasn't expecting the seemingly straight narrative that I was initially presented with. It is only as the film progresses that the surreal nature of the film really unfolds, the strangeness presented as jarringly at odds with the quotidian, almost stagy scenarios. In this it reminded more of Rene Magritte's use of juxtaposition than former collaborator Salvador Dali's self-reflexive dream logic.
Buñuel teases and torments his six protagonists in an ecstasy of delayed gratification, exposing their hypocrisies and leaving them unable to voice their frustrations due to the societal mores imposed on…
All movies toy with us, but the best ones have the nerve to admit it. Most movies pretend their stories are real and that we must take them seriously. Comedies are allowed to break the rules. Most of the films of Luis Bunuel are comedies in one way or another, but he doesn’t go for gags and punch lines; his comedy is more like a dig in the ribs, sly and painful.
Consider two of his best films side-by-side. “The Exterminating Angel” (1962) is about a group of guests who arrive for dinner, enjoy it and then cannot leave. They’re mysteriously compelled to spend days and weeks squatting in the house of their host. Civilized behavior erodes as the press…
Unique surrealist comedy trapped on a perpetual loop, in which three upper-middle class couples keep of failing to have a meal together and are assaulted by strange nightmares in which their façades crumble. Contrary to what one might expect, the director is actually sympathetic towards the emsemble and doesn't even make much fun of them. Buñuel's most inventive and funniest; whether it is suble or not doesn't matter - it's not satire, it's burlesque.
After dragging myself through the mud of Last Year at Marienbad, I finished my night at UT's Surrealist Film Festival with Discreet Charm. (Shouts out to my dude Nathan), a film that tactfully spreads its ideas in a much more pleasant way than Marienbad.
One of Buñuel's funniest and most critically successful films, Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie follows a group of friends constantly on the hunt for dinner, only to be thwarted, both by plot and directorial gimmick, repeatedly. If it sounds weird, it's because it is.
Juxtaposed with Marienbad, Discreet Charm has exactly that, pleasantly poking at the rich and famous with such giddy and ridicule, sitting in a audience feels like throwing tomatoes at the characters on…
Notes to self: να πάω στη Μιράντα, να βγάλω ένα από τα παιδιά μου Delphine, να πω σε όποιον ξέρω να δει αυτή την ταινία.
I thought long and hard about the deeper meaning of this film.
Then my girlfriend piped in and summed it up as simply being the nightmares of a hungry, middle aged man who's on a diet,
We've all been there, amarite??
"Dreams can sometimes be..."
Class privilege rears its ugly head in Buñuel's riotous comedy of ill manners and missed dining engagements. The way any and all gratification gets indefinitely postponed becomes most delicious indeed.
Light satiric piques that slides delightfully up the grotesque scale. An aimless navigation through the bourgeoisie that's more fun than it is biting.
I went into The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie knowing that this was a Luis Buñuel movie this meaning that this was probably not going to be an easy watch and that probably this wouldn't be my cup of tea since surrealism is far from being my favorite genre BUT the amazing reputation that the movie has made me be hopeful for this viewing maybe at the forth movie from Buñuel this would be the first one i would like.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is Directed by Luis Buñuel and it stars Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur, Bulle Ogier, Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Julien Bertheau, Claude Piéplu and Michel Piccoli.
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