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.
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…
Luis Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie portrays the impossibility that a group of high society faces in achieving a dinner. It works as a fantastic and virulent satire on bourgeois, resulting in one of the best and most effective comedies of all time, led by a very dark humour that may not please everyone and filled with Buñuel's typical surrealism. It's amazing how the film manages to balance a satiric realism - by portraying bourgeoisie's habits, manners and behaviors - with a very clear surrealism which is mainly used to create some very effective metaphors over that social class.
Many people try to decrypt Buñuel's films, but they will never get to a general conclusion because his films…
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…
Seht sie euch an, die bösen Kapitalisten. Sie schmuggeln Kokain, missachten die Gesetzte, sind grausam, dekadent und egozentrisch. Dann kommt Bunuel und bestraft sie - oder eben auch nicht, im Film war es dann doch immer nur ein Traum. Das Kino soll hier keine Katharsis bieten, sondern frustrieren, soll uns immer wieder klar machen: Im echten Leben kommen sie auch davon. Schafft euch keinen Sehnsuchtsort im Lichtspielhaus, zieht auf die Straßen.
Everyone assumes they're not part of the bourgeoisie when they watch this film, which is what makes so many of these pretentious reviews on Letterboxd hilarious.
REPORTER: Who are your favorite characters in the movie?
BUÑUEL: The cockroaches.
— from an interview in Newsweek
To which I'd add, they bear a suspicious resemblance to many critics.
A delightful comedy that only occasionally loses its way; the recurring elements get less and less subtle, though, with each go round.
Okay guys, it's not *that* funny.
Maybe I'm just not erudite enough to appreciate Bunuel, but I was alternating between casual amusement and zoning out during the afternoon screening at BAM. At least it had the charm of decrepit 35mm.
35mm at BAM. Nice!
The Perfect Martini by Luis Bunuel:
To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of the dry martini. To be frank, given the primordial role in my life played by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at least a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in America it was…
The satire of Bourgeoisie has lost a bit of its sharpness over the years, but what remains absolutely refreshing about it is that Buñuel understood that the audience is as deserving of mocking as the characters on screen. The ability to pull the rug from under the viewer time and time again is Buñuel's best weapon in Bourgeoisie, a film that consist of dreams within dreams within dreams. Each time, we expect the narrative to settle into a conventional form and each time Buñuel laughs in our faces. Our experience ends up mimicking that of characters at the center of the movie: their perpetually interrupted attempts at having a meal = our perpetually interrupted attempts at settling into a recognizable…
An inventive, surreal film where all the events are still within the realms of possibility. A comedy unlike most others, six bourgeois friends are denied their yearning - to sit down, relax, talk and share a meal - due to Buñuel's trickery and teasing. Slightly dated perhaps, but can dreams date?
This is one of those movies that I liked but if you asked me why, I wouldn't have a damn clue! The movie doesn't really have any consequences. We wait for all of this to lead to something but ultimately it doesn't really matter. It's well written though which I think is why I really liked this movie. This movie has comedy, drama, horror, and thriller elements mixed together; a weird combination, but it's nice because you never know where a scene is going to end. This movie is a hard sell but it's definetly worth a watch.
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Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!