This is what happens when your car breaks down on a Sunday morning and you have nothing else to do…
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.
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.
Luis Brunel concocts a strange and alluring portrait of a group of bourgeois types, placing them in their familiar and comfortable setting of the dinner table for a nice civilised dinner party, before proceeding to repeatedly get in the way of the simple pleasure they seek to enjoy. It left me a bit baffled, but somewhere in between the revengeful bishop/gardener, the dreams-within-dreams-within-dreams, and repeated sequences of walking down a lonely country road, I got some sense of what Brunel's characters are. Though I am also thoroughly confused about the whole ordeal, which no doubt is entirely intentional. As an audience member you leave these characters just wishing that you could've reached the dessert - but Brunel decides just desserts are just as sweet.
Delightful anarchic satire on the self-regarding, classist, greedy bourgeois class, forever just looking for a catered meal but, here at least, forever thwarted by Bunuel's satirical ire.
I've been wanting to see this for a while and I finally decided to import the UK Blu Ray. This comedy of manners from the incomparable Luis Bunuel rivals his other brutal critique of the upper class, The Exterminating Angel. The brilliance here is that the characters never really realize that anything peculiar is going on. It brutally attacks the self absorption and general cruelty of high society, but does so with a smile on its face and with a mix of lightheartedness and dark surrealism that only Bunuel can pull off.
It's alright, I just don't think it's surreal enough.
The conceit of "a dinner that never happens" between six upper middle-class friends is given some hilarious results. Every attempt to dine is thwarted by events that are real and increasingly surreal. Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel takes a satirical jab at bourgeoisie foolery and he manages to reach maximum mayhem.
I just loved how absurdly random it all was. Drug-dealing ambassador Don Rafael (Fernando Rey) of the fictional country Miranda is living with constant fear that he'll be kidnapped by guerrilla terrorists. There's also M. Thévenot (Paul Frankeur), Simone Thévenot (Delphine Seyrig) and Florence (Bulle Ogier) who are his three friends which are repeatedly invited to the home of Henri Sénéchal (Jean-Pierre Cassel) and Alice Sénéchal (Stéphane Audran) to try…
It's quite something that after nearly half a century, and immeasurable cultural and cinematic development, Discreet Charm still has an air of real danger about it. I've seen it several times but still feel a rush of exhilaration at certain moments: when Don Rafael calmly shoots at the 'terrorist' from his window, when the Bishop arrives and becomes a gardener, when the army march into Senechal's house... There's a sense that absolutely anything could happen.
When I first saw this about 30 years ago I went expecting a good film, hoping for a masterpiece: I was nonplussed to find that not only was I disappointed, but I thought it was a bad film. So, 30 years later I have watched it again. What do I think? It is often described as a satire, but its satire is unfocussed or blunt. The six main characters, always preparing to share a meal but constantly being interrupted, are a shallow, privileged bunch. But that doesn’t make the film satiric. The three men, respectable members of the bourgeoisie are importing heroin: is this satiric because it is exaggerated behaviour of the bourgeoisie? I don’t think so: typically the bourgeoisie…
Surrealist nonsensical bullshit.
French Monty Python crossed with Inception/the "shower season" of Dallas.
Movies that are slightly off.
(Working on organizing it by similar aesthetic.)