The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

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In 1972, Spanish surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel(Belle de Jour) collaborated with writer Jean-Claude Carrière (Cyrano de Bergerac) to create one of the most satirical and bizarre films of modern times. Rewarded with an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film and a nomination for Best Original Screenplay The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is about a group of six upper middle class friends who repeatedly try to have dinner together, but their plans are thwarted by events both real and increasingly surreal. (Umbrella Entertainment)

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Reviews (5)

novoten 

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English Untenable from all sides and precisely because of that, completely over my head. A few scenes entertain or intrigue (mainly the theatrical dream), but as a whole, Luis Buñuel's bizarre exhibition of individualities is merely a forgettable experiment. Slightly provocative, slightly sleep-inducing, but mostly unnecessary. His pivotal role in world cinematography will likely remain a mystery to me forever. ()

gudaulin 

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English Many of my returns to film classics and encounters with my favorite movies of my childhood and adolescence are accompanied by doubts because it's somehow not the same anymore. These films affect me differently and usually much more dimly than I had them preserved in my memories. The work of Luis Buñuel is an exception to this - it's a constant in my indulgences. In The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, through a small company composed of typical members of the upper classes - entrepreneurs, church officials, government officials, and their mistresses - Buñuel ingeniously mocks the establishment and its desire for comfort and pleasures. The selected society repeatedly gathers around a set table, but Buñuel repeatedly disrupts their consumerist desires with an unwanted person entering or an unexpected incident. In every shot, it is evident how Buñuel, as a leftist, has a critical distance from this class. He maliciously ridicules members of the social elite, a typical scene being when an ambassador, hiding under the table from terrorists, cannot resist reaching for pastries, risking his life rather than giving up the delicacies. Buñuel's characters embody their fear of losing face, of being exposed as incompetent, in a surrealistic performance, where they find themselves on a theater stage instead of a banquet, and dejectedly admit that they don't know the text. The whole film is permeated with dreamlike visions - Buñuel, as a pure surrealist, not only plays with his characters but also with the audience. It is quite possible that the entire film is actually just a dream of one of the characters burdened with guilt and doubts. Buñuel made this film toward the end of his career after he had already done a lot, and his sure hand and value system are evident in the film. He rightfully received an Oscar for his film, despite his provocative behavior and delineation against Hollywood. Overall impression: 95%. ()

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Matty 

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English Morons, sycophants, hypocrites. The nouveau riche, the Church, the military. They collide again and again, and nothing comes of it. They are scared to death that someone might uncover their true intentions. The accumulated lies emerge in dreams that may ultimately be more true than what is passed off as reality. Buñuel made an astonishingly caustic comedy with a slight hint of surrealism. Food, sex, dreams and scenes like something out of an art-house film viewed through the lens of Monty Python. The directing is admirably economical; if something can be said in one shot, it’s not said with three. However, I wasn’t always entire sure what was actually being said, but if by no other means, the film entertained me with its subversive unpredictability. 80% ()

kaylin 

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English I absolutely love how this film escalates its absurdity, but also its plot, where the group just can't manage to have dinner together. With that, the creator's style also escalates, almost as if Luis Buñuel were proving how easily reality can be turned into surrealism. You'll believe it, you'll laugh, and you'll think about it when you feel like it. ()

NinadeL 

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English This is not the funny old provocateur Luis. If anyone was ever going to elevate to an "art" the basic situation in which people just don't get together at the right time and place, no matter what, it should have been Luis. I find seeing Fernando Rey's face in the lead role more than once in my life a complete waste of time, but so be it. Beyond that, I wanted to see Delphine Seyrig in a role other than the postmodern Bathory. I thus survived the whole thing in the end, finding the humor here so absurd several times that it eventually became acceptable for volleys of laughter, but not repeatedly so. ()

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