The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeosie
June 24, 2011
Directed by Luis Buñuel. With Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig,
France 1972, 35mm, color 102 min. French with English subtitles.
Buñuel’s most successful film, which won the 1972 Oscar for Best Foreign Film, once again places a group of bourgeois friends in dinner party purgatory. Continually interrupted from eating by strange events, the diners are perennially unsatisfied, yet driven to play out their polite social rituals nevertheless. Meanwhile, the elegant costumes, good manners, and meaningless small talk hides drug trafficking, affairs, political intrigue and vengeful murder. Absurd reminders of their hypocrisy and doom constantly resurface via apparitions, premonitions, dreams, and dreams within dreams, yet they never seem to “wake up.” No standard cinematic fare, the seamlessly surreal satire features a charming ensemble cast playing social actors who are doomed to play their parts ad infinitum.