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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Criterion Collection) (1972)

Cast: Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stéphane Audran, more...
Director: Luis Buñuel, Luis Buñuel
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Rating:
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Foreign, Black Comedy, France, Spain, Experimental/Avant-Garde, Criterion Collection
Languages: Spanish, French
Subtitles: English
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Synopsis
In typical Luis Buñuel fashion, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie surrealistically skewers the conventions of society. Buñuel applies his surrealist touch to a mundane event: a dinner party that may never come to pass. A group of well-to-do friends attempt to gather for a social evening, but are thwarted at every turn. The initial problem seems to be a simple scheduling mistake, but the obstacles become more and more bizarre. At one point, the guests are interrupted at the table by an army on maneuvers. Later they learn that they are merely characters in a stage play and so cannot have dinner together. These misadventures are combined with symbolic dreams of the various characters, some of which also involve interrupted dinners. Wicked social satire and one of Buñuel's funniest films. Winner of the Academy Award for "Best Foreign Film" in 1972. ~ John Voorhees, All Movie Guide

Special features:

  • El náufrago de la calle de Providencia (The Castaway on the Street of Providence, 1970): a 24-minute documentary homage to Buñuel by his longtime friends Arturo Ripstein and Rafael Castanedo
  • Original theatrical trailer
This disc includes the feature film THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE.



GreenCine Member Ratings

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Criterion Collection) (1972)
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7.47 (513 votes)
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A propósito de Buñuel (Criterion Collection) (1972)
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7.33 (79 votes)
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Outstanding portrait of Buñuel by lockeender March 17, 2003 - 3:39 PM PST
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1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This is an excellent documentary. It's a biography not a film highlight reel, which I found quite refreshing. The film focuses on Buñuel's life, philosophies, and influences. It examines the filmmaker and not the films--as a result I feel that I understand his films better now (by learning so much about him, especially his views on sex and sexual cinema) than listening to any single commentary. My only complaint is that the documentary was shot in 1.78:1 or 1.85:1, and every clip of a film or other older footage was cropped to this ratio. So older films like the Andalusian Dog, or L`Âge d'Or are tilt-and-scanned--chopping off the top and bottom of the frame--instead of windowboxing them in the 1.78:1 frame; and any film shot in a wider ratio is pan-and-scanned--chopping off the left and right of the frame. Also the sources for many of the film clips used were highly inadequate. Having just seen The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, with a beautiful, detailed transfer, it was very annoying to see washed-out, grainy, overly dark, terrible-looking clips from that film. Other than these technical quibbles the film is an excellent documentary and look at a legendary film artist.

exceptional bit of dreamy absurdity by lockeender March 17, 2003 - 3:29 PM PST
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9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
It's hard to rate this film or put my reaction into words. The film's a compelling bit of filmmaking that never had me sure what was happening. Dreams play a major factor, and by the film's end I wasn't sure what was a dream and what wasn't. The story is simple enough, a group of upper crust socialites try to have dinner together but can never quite pull it off: sex, drugs, politics, war and other factors always seem to interfere. It's a bizarre, but delightful experience; I wouldn't be surprised if most people find the film boring, but I often found it to be acerbically funny and a spot on caricature of people that think they are important. The humor is subtle and dark, certainly not to everyone's taste, and it verges on the surreal more than once, but never goes all out with that direction, emphasizing a more restrained sensibility that works very well for the film.

Surrealism giant by bfortune January 14, 2003 - 11:33 PM PST
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2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Anyone interested in surrealism would be interested in this movie - Bunuel is one of the greatest, and his history was very interesting and revealing.

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Moveline's 100 Best Foreign Films
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This list was published in Moveline's July 1996 issue.
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Vitallia's Rental Favs
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Some of these films are not as fresh in my mind as when I first viewed them. This is my first list and these are some of the highlights.
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