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The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie
The Criterion Collection
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In Luis Buñuel's deliciously satiric 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. Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyring, and Jean-Pierre Cassel head the extraordinary cast of this 1972 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. Criterion is proud to present The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie in an exclusive Special Edition Double-Disc Set.
What can be more enjoyable then a meal among friends and family? In Luis Buñuel's surrealistic comedy The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie it is this common ritual a sextet of upper-class friends repeatedly attempt, only to be obstructed by one obscure event after another. Masterfully balancing the dichotomy of class vs. debauchery Buñuel delivers a ripping critique of the upper class. It is clear from the beginning that the lives Buñuels Bourgeoisie are living are not what they seem. Eventually, their true colors begin to shine; not in actual actions but in haunting dreams. What is real and what lies in the subconscious becoming exceedingly blurry and in order to deliver his message, surrealism must take over. It is hard to pigeonhole Buñuels classic that won him the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film 1972: An absurd odyssey? A discreet satire? Not necessarily, but definitely charming. --Rob BraccoSee all Editorial Reviews
- "El Naufrago De La Calle De La Providencia" ("The Survivor on the Street of Providence") 1970, 25 min. - A documentary on Bunuel by longtime friends Arturo Ripstein and Rafael Castanedo
- Bunuel's recipe for the perfect martini
- A proposito de Bunuel (Speaking of Buneul, 2000): a new 98-minute documentary on the life and work of Buneul by Jose Luis Lopez-Linares and Javier Rioyo
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This set came with the DVD and Bluray versions. I have not tried the DVD and so this review only applies to the blu ray.
Picture 2.5/5: The image is presented in ~16:9 meaning your widescreen tv will be nearly filled by the image. That is lovely. Unfortunately, the film transfer (or perhaps the film itself) is weak. You can see a lot of grainy images, flicks, juddering on 48hz sets, and even print dust. Overall, the colors are vibrant and this is superior to the older version of the film I had. Do not expect amazing picture perfect quality. If the Criterion Collection ever fixes this film up for bluray, get that version.
Sound 4/5: This version includes both the original sound track and an english dub. No idea why you'd listen to the english version, it sounds awful and ruins the movie in my view. However, the dolby presentation of the original mono audio is quite good. Very clear and enjoyable.
Film 5/5. I'm sure if you're considering the blu ray you don't need my opinion here.
Overall, I'm happy with my purchase. I wish the image quality was more greatly restored but it does not detract from the viewing experience. For some, seeing the film in this way will be nostalgic or reminiscent of old theater projections - before everything went hyperdigital.
In the late 20's, Luis Bunuel was an active member of the surrealist movement and gave to the cinema a unique masterpiece, UN CHIEN ANDALOU, whose screenplay had been written by Salvador Dali. For nearly 50 years, the cinematographic world of Luis Bunuel has been filled with the anarchic ideas of this movement and, if you don't know any of his movies, you are going to be a little bit puzzled by THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE. Before entering this world, you must learn to forget to ask " why ". Why are these people wandering through french landscapes ? Why does this bishop want so badly to become a gardener ? Why does this soldier have the urge to confess the dream he had the night before ? and so on. There are no particular meanings in these actions, they are just part of the world of one of the best film directors of the XXth century.
A healthy DVD.