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The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (The Criterion Collection)
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of those films I feel like an idiot for not loving more, since it's been embraced as a masterpiece by just about every critic and film-writer I admire. Read morePublished 2 months ago by K. Gordon
It's an interesting manifestation of the hypocrisy of the so called elite members of society, the 1 percenters.Published 3 months ago by Aldo Bruschi
Great condition, seems it was hardly used. Good buy, promp shipping.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Its strange about the French with their manners and etiquette, yet the country who brought us the Internet (invented at CERN, central european research network) while using 25% of... Read morePublished 8 months ago by okitsme408597
I first caught this movie very early one morning on TCM. The photography is great, I have no clue what the plot is , but I stayed up to watch the whole movie. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Bill
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