Belle de jour

( 5 )

Overview

Belle de Jour dramatizes the collision between depravity and elegance, one of the favorite themes of director Luis Buñuel. Catherine Deneuve stars as a wealthy but bored newlywed, eager to taste life to the fullest. She seemingly gets her wish early in the film when she is kidnapped, tied to a tree, and gang-raped. It turns out that this is only a daydream, but her subsequent visits to a neighboring brothel, where she offers her services, certainly seem to be real. This illusion...
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Overview

Belle de Jour dramatizes the collision between depravity and elegance, one of the favorite themes of director Luis Buñuel. Catherine Deneuve stars as a wealthy but bored newlywed, eager to taste life to the fullest. She seemingly gets her wish early in the film when she is kidnapped, tied to a tree, and gang-raped. It turns out that this is only a daydream, but her subsequent visits to a neighboring brothel, where she offers her services, certainly seem to be real. This illusion
eality dichotomy extends to the final scenes, in which we are offered two possible endings. Thanks to a question of copyright and ownership, Belle de Jour disappeared from view shortly after its 1967 release, not even resurfacing on videotape. When it was reissued theatrically in 1994, many critics placed the perplexing but mesmerizing film on their lists of that year's best films.
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Special Features

Audio commentary featuring Michael Wood, author of the BFI Film Classics book Belle de Jour; New video piece featuring writer and sexual-politics activist Susie Bright and film scholar Linda Williams; New interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière; Segment from the French television program Catherine Deneuve; Original and rerelease trailer; A booklet featuring an essay by critic Melissa Anderson and a 1970s interview with director Luis Buñel
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
The world's oldest profession turns out to be a cure for the newlywed blues in Belle de Jour, a razor-sharp French-language satire from Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel. Catherine Deneuve plays the young married woman drawn irresistibly toward a secret life of prostitution, and both the actress and her character slip easily into the role, evoking the bored distraction of an unfulfilled young woman as she comes to grips with her more primal cravings. Buñuel plays to his own strong suit here: He exhibits undeniable mastery in portraying the tension between prim and proper surfaces and the powerful, irrational -- even perverse -- appetites that lurk beneath. But despite the sexy subject matter, Belle de Jour is far from steamy; rather, Buñuel's sensibility remains typically dry and detached. Moments of the director's signature surreal fantasy are worked into the story nicely, but when compared to a film like The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, the satire of Belle de Jour is far more restrained, the film's brilliantly enigmatic ending notwithstanding. The result is a marvelously adroit comedy of manners that is one of Buñuel's best works.
All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Director Luis Buñuel's first film in color, Belle de Jour also kicked off the last phase of his great career, which produced some of his most popular films The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, That Obscure Object of Desire. Catherine Deneuve serves Buñuel here as Grace Kelly did Alfred Hitchcock, as the glacially beautiful blonde who is barely concealing smoldering desires. Séverine, Deneuve's character, finds that marriage is not the beginning of contentment, but a key which unlocks the doors of her abusive past to allow her imagination to run unfettered. How many of the film's events are "real" is left up to the viewer; Buñuel clearly wants to blur the distinctions between Séverine's erotic dreams and her attempts to fulfill them. A lesser filmmaker would wallow in the prurience of the story of a sexually frustrated wife turning to prostitution; for Buñuel, however, making films about sex is about exploring much more than human desire and physical contact. What makes his approach unique is its playfulness; he can have it both ways, provoking the audience one moment and winking the next, as if to say, "This thing we call life, it's a big joke, isn't it?"
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/17/2012
  • UPC: 715515088817
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:40:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 305

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Catherine Deneuve Severine Serizy
Jean Sorel Pierre Serizy
Michel Piccoli Henri Husson
Genevieve Page Madame Anais
Macha Meril Renee Fevret
Francisco Rabal Hyppolite
Pierre Clémenti Marcel
Francis Blanche Monsieur Adolphe
Françoise Fabian Charlotte
Maria Latour Mathilde
Claude Cerval
Michel Charrel Footman
Marcel Charvey Professor Henri
Dominique Dandrieux Severine as a child
Marc Eyraud Barman
Bernard Fresson Le Grêle
Iska Khan Asian client
François Maistre L'ensignant
Georges Marchal The Duke
Muni Pallas
Bernard Musson Majordomo
Brigitte Parmentier Severine as a child
Technical Credits
Luis Buñuel Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Jean-Claude Carrière Screenwriter
Robert Clavel Art Director
Raymond Hakim Producer
Robert Hakim Producer
Louisette Hautecoeur Editor
Walter Spohr Editor
Sacha Vierny Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 14, 2012

    Belle de Jour is often hailed as Buñuel's erotic masterpiece, bu

    Belle de Jour is often hailed as Buñuel's erotic masterpiece, but I don't consider it very erotic. It's simply a great film. No pigeonholing required. It is also a whore film which, you understand, may not be for everyone. But it is the best whore film ever made or at least neck and neck with Seijun Suzuki's Gate of Flesh in that regard.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    All Hail Lady Deneuve!

    I expected this to be a raunchy, blatantly erotic film. Boy was I surprised! Catherine Deneuve ( who is one of my favorite actresses) plays the part of Severine with such perfection. Any other actress would have been just wrong for the film. Superb!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    C'est vraiment belle! (It really is beautiful)

    I didn't know quite what to expect, but I enjoyed it. It definitely has a foreign feel to it, so if you don't like foreign films --which don't always necessarily have happy endings like American movies-- it probably isn't for you. Catherine Deneuve is gorgeous and her character is vivid. It's s good film--not a movie, which is made for the masses. This is a film; it makes you think.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2001

    Catherine is Stunning!

    Although this movie may have a different feel to it, it was a unique film. I liked it. But different people aquire different tastes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews