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That Obscure Object of Desire (The Criterion Collection)
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Genre: Foreign Film - French
Release Date: 20-NOV-2001
Media Type: DVD
- New high-definition transfer
- New and improved English subtitle translation
- Video interview with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere
- Excerpts from Jacques de Baroncelli's 1929 silent La Femme et le Pantin, an alternative adaptation of the novel on which Luis Buñuel based his film
- Reprinted interview with director Luis Buñuel
Top Customer Reviews
Of course, this being a movie from the director who gave us "Un Chien Andalou", there are some...offbeat touches. The role of Conchita is played by two actresses, a Frenchwoman and a Spaniard (slightly distracting at first, but once you know their faces, it fades.) A dwarf shows up rather early on. But overall, it's not particularly strange...just bitter. Despite it being his final film, the director's hatred of the idle rich comes through loud and clear.
I highly recommend this, a great, restrained piece from a master.
The girl is played by two different actresses; here Bunuel is slyly saying to the audience, This man is too (two) distracted, too (two) obsessed. The girl alternately leads him on and crushes his hopes, time after time, yet still the man returns to be alternately entranced and crushed. His actions are ultimately revealed to be far too immature--if nothing else, based on the behavior of the girl--for his age, but he can't help himself.
Simultaneously, a guerilla group plants bombs and blows things up all over the city of Paris where the film is set. The immature need for immediate results, intensified by repeated frustration--typified by both the guerillas and the desperate man--is nowhere revealed in film as dramatically as in That Obscure Object of Desire. The film ends with the convergence of these two entities (the guerillas and the man) in a perfect climax.
The "message"? Not only that you can't always get what you want; more to the point, here is what people do all over the world: want things they don't understand, fail to understand what they want.
Highly recommended. Bunuel is like no other director, ever, and this film is without question one of his best.
Jean-Claude Carriere wrote the script. He may be the greatest screenwriter of all time. He has over a hundred credits and some of them are among the best movies ever made. Here's a brief list from those that I have seen: The Ogre (1996), Valmont (1989), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Diary of a Chambermaid (1964).
There's some symbolism in Cet obscur objet du desir. Sometimes Mathieu (Fernando Rey) carries around an old gunny sack. We find out what's in it in the final scene. It represents Conchita's virginity. The terrorists in the background seem rather contemporary although this movie is from 1977. Mathieu is rich and therefore represents the established European society. Conchita and her friends represent the underclass. Both Mathieu and Conchita are really character types. He is the masher, the rake who is always working on a new conquest, although he is somewhat naive. She is the tease who uses her wiles to get what she can from him. Bunuel plays this ancient theme as a burlesque, exaggerating her coyness and his foolishness. The ending may suggest that in some way he has won, or more likely that they are still at a standoff, even while the terrorists escalate the bombings.
The question of why there are two actresses playing Conchita has more to do with Maria Schneider, who originally was cast in the role, but left because of the nudity or because Conchita's character was too contrary, than it has to do with any plot or symbolic necessity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant film with the ingenious device of the same role being played by two (gorgeous!) actresses. This is a must for those with sado-masochistic tendencies. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Maurizio
This is a story of a man who can't stop pursuing a woman who plays with him like a cat with a mouse, taking him for all the money he thinks he can afford, and humiliating him on... Read morePublished on December 15, 2013 by rwx
ALTHOUGH THE SPECIAL FEATURES ARE REALLY PRECIOUS, THE IMAGE QUALITY, EVEN NOT COMPARED WITH STUDIOCANAL BLURAY EDITION, IS FAIRLY NOT THAT SATISFYING, AND THE EDGE ENHANCEMENT IS... Read morePublished on June 1, 2013 by HAN XIAO
ARRIVED IN GOOD TIME AND IN GOOD CONDITION.That Obscure Object of Desire - Criterion CollectionPublished on September 12, 2010 by Steve Abbruscato
I'm not saying that this movie isn't light-years better than most of the crap that's being produced by mainstream filmmakers. Read morePublished on January 19, 2010 by Yasha Banana
Unlike most, I was lucky enough to see this film for the first time without knowing anything about it. It ran on PBS on a saturday night. I was completely blown away. Read morePublished on February 7, 2009 by Nephilim
The last film of a great master, his "swan song" was based on the novel "La femme et le pantin" written by Pierre Louÿs. Read morePublished on February 23, 2008 by Galina
''That Obscure Object of Desire'' is one of the highest achievements in sound cinema, one of the greatest films ever made...you get the idea!!! Read morePublished on December 4, 2007 by S. Ramani
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