The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (English Subtitled) 1972 PG

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(67) IMDb 8/10
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In Luis Bunuel's satiric, Oscar-winning masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined.

Starring:
Fernando Rey, Paul Frankeur
Runtime:
1 hour 42 minutes

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (English Subtitled)

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Product Details

Genres Fantasy, Drama, Comedy
Director Luis Buñuel
Starring Fernando Rey, Paul Frankeur
Supporting actors Delphine Seyrig, Bulle Ogier, Stéphane Audran, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Julien Bertheau, Milena Vukotic, Maria Gabriella Maione, Claude Piéplu, Muni, Pierre Maguelon, François Maistre, Michel Piccoli, Ellen Bahl, Christian Baltauss, Olivier Bauchet, Robert Benoît, Anne-Marie Deschodt, Jean-Michel Dhermay
Studio Lionsgate
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

This film works on many different levels.
The Inquisitor
It doesn't really matter, though; the whole movie's just messed up anyway (in a good way).
Allen W. Nyhuis
My willingness to explore has once again yielded happy results.
Eddy Oquendo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Clarke on September 18, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is one of Spanish director Luis Bunuel's finest, most subtle surrealist comedies. At least his films are often classed as comedies -- they're more an assault on our senses and conventions. The 'plot' (if one can call it that) unwinds slowly -- the fulcrum being the absurd situation of a group of socialite friends who are attempting to ....... no, better see for yourself than have me disclose it. It's enough to say that if you enjoy the Marx Brothers, or Pedro Almodovar, you'll adore Luis Bunuel. He has the comedy of the former and the anarchy of the latter, but his dagger is always that little bit sharper and more deadly. The promised Criterion issue is on two discs for a running time of almost three hours; the usual cinema version is less than two hours, so there must be some great supplements coming our way. Let's hope for more Bunuel on DVD -- next up should be his classic silent film 'Un Chien Andalou', in the 'sonorised' version prepared in the 1950s, when Bunuel himself added a soundtrack of the music he always envisaged as part of the film, ranging from Argentinian tangoes to the 'Love-Death' from 'Tristan and Isolde'.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2003
Format: DVD
Director Luis Bunuel is often described as a surrealist, but the word misapplied in reference to his later works; rather than present the viewer with an odd visual display, he prefers to first create a plausible reality and then progressively undercut it with an increasingly implausible series of events. Such is the case with the Academy Award-winning THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE, which begins with four friends who arrive at their hosts' home only to discover they have arrived on the wrong night--a plausible situation. But before the film has run its course, Bunuel unravels his tale of a meal that never quite happens in the most unexpected ways imaginable.
The film works on several levels, mocking social conventions, the church, and eventually spilling its action into a series of overlapping nightmares in which various attempts to dine are frustrated by everything from the corpse of a restaurant manager in a nearby room to military manouvers. On one memorable occasion, the friends are invited to dine and are seated around an elegant table--when a curtain suddenly rises behind them and reveals them to be seated on a stage before a hostile audience!
The cast (which features Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur, Bulle Ogier, Stephane Audran and Jean-Pierre Cassel as the constantly frustrated diners) plays with considerable aplomb, performing the most irrational scenes with a magnificent realism. When combined with Bunuel's absurdist story, the result is a disquieting yet often very funny discourse on frustrated appetites both real and imagined, and with many layers of incidental meaning along the way.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By LF on July 30, 2005
Format: DVD
Different people will get different things from this odd film. I'll share with you what I take from it.

It is a series of events that at first seem real but usually become dreamlike, and sometimes end with one of the characters waking up and revealing the last scene to be a dream of his.

The most memorable scene, for me, is the scene where the major characters are invited to a dinner and, during the dinner, a curtain is raised and the diners are shown to be on a stage, observed by an audience.

This seems to me like a metaphor for our lives. It reminds me of the Shakespeare soliloquy comparing us to actors on a stage. What it says to me is that we are these actors, and there is an unseen audience for us.

To fill out that explanation, we see a bishop who wants to be a gardener. Depending on what he is wearing, he is taken for either a bishop or a gardener. Our identities are not stattic. We are playing parts. We are not what we seem to be. We aren't even what we think we are. We are souls together on a journey, like the six souls walking together along a road, shown to us a number of times throughout the film, and in the final shot.

The separation between life and death is stripped away in this film. Ghosts talk to living characters. Ghosts appear in several scenes, as alive as any of the other characters. Our lives are illusions. Our lives are dreams. Life is a dream. It is not real. Death is not death.

The living are simply the ones invited to dinner, those who are being viewed by an unseen audience. The dead haven't gone away. We are all, alive or dead, souls together on a journey.

Other than that, I can't really make sense of the film, in the sense of putting it all together to form a whole.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Alexander Leach on April 20, 2001
Format: DVD
I have about 15 Criterion DVDs, and this is probably the best: a wonderful surreal comedy given a fabulous transfer to DVD. When the excellent extras are included this is outstanding package.
The film will not be to everybody's taste: if you tend to favour no-brainer farces like 'Dumb & Dumber', I'd advise you to give this one a miss. However if you enjoy the films of Woody Allen, the Coen brothers and fine cinema generally you will enjoy this film, especially as the performances are wonderful: the urbane Fernando Rey, sexy Stephane Audran, and the bumbling Paul Frankeur are perfectly cast.
The anamorphic image is outstanding: vividly clear with beautiful colours, and no nicks or flecks at all. Just beam up the sequence where the guests arrive for lunch near the beginning of the film (about 20 or so minutes in) and marvel at the luscious greens of the foliage as the car comes up the drive.
Bunuel's direction is understated, but that is his genius in this film: in lesser hands this rambling tale with its bizarre dream sequences interpolated would have been a shambles, but the 'story' is so tautly told and perfectly paced.
The shorter documentary is not so interesting, but the 105 minutes one is fascinating.
A desert island DVD set.
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