Friday, July 23, 2010

BELLE DE JOUR (French) (1967)

The beauty and the brain breed the masterpiece…the beauty here is Catherine Deneuve (perhaps never seems so erotic on screen!) and the brain is Luis Bunuel- the pioneer of surrealism in cinematic medium.

A young, beautiful and sophisticated housewife fed up with her boring and unexcited life craves for sexual adventures. Initially guided by curiosity and impulsion she visits the clandestine world of whorehouse. She’s shy and nervous but she broke the ice and from the next day it becomes her routine afternoon affair in absence of her husband. Unlike other sluts it’s not money which dragged her into this, so what’s that? Well Bunuel is the master who boldly showed the inner craters of irresistible dark subconscious we hide in our framed social zoo.

Severine is the woman with childhood abuse as showing in few seconds frame, seeking pleasure from physical abuse (masochism) and carried away by her wild sexual fantasies handled here showing gorgeous Cathrine Deneuve as erotic Severine. When surrealism deals with sex, it may go beyond the limits to fill visuals with explicit sex but Bunuel without indulging in erotic skin show crafted frames with quite restraint and yet shot classy Deneuve so aesthetically showing us her pair of legs and back and cleverly avoiding the parts the male gaze seeks highest attention. Perhaps instinct like sex dwell more in imagination and fantasy than anything else!

As a prostitute Severine has to favor strange visitors ranging from professor to criminals with their bizarre unfulfilled fetish and cravings of sexual adventures. With stalking and furious admirers in tow, her double life runs the risk of being exposed. Bunuel boldly attempts to blur the seemingly thick demarcating line between depravity and dignity. The ending is quite confusing and complex left open to viewers’ imagination. The clue is to pay your eyes and ears to the initial stagecoach nightmare again.

Bold and Brilliant Masterpiece from the Papa of surrealism.


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