Belle de Jour (1967) | Luis Buñuel’s exquisite exploration of female desire gets a 50th anniversary 4k restoration release
From Studiocanal comes the newly-restored 4k version of director Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967) starring Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel and Michel Piccoli.
Séverine (Catherine Deneuve), the reserved wife of successful Parisian surgeon Pierre (Jean Sorel), is prone to masochistic fantasies which reveal her sexual frustration. Driven by a mixture of ennui and curiosity, she pays a visit to a brothel run by Madame Anaïs (Geneviève Page), where she begins to work there during the day under the name Belle de Jour.
Seemingly having found an inner peace through the satisfaction of her clients’ desires, things soon turn sour when Marcel (Michel Piccoli), a loutish friend of Pierre’s, insists on having Séverine all to himself. Panic-stricken, Séverine quits her dangerous day job but is it too late?
Buñuel blends memory, fantasy and reality, seamlessly, in his surrealistic voyage into the mind of Deneuve’s bored housewife to show the deep mysteries of sex without showing the sex act itself – and it is never certain if what is seen is reality or fantasy.
Sumptuously filmed in and around the streets of Paris (many of which you can still visit today), it is a exquisite exploration of female desire, but the film’s moral tone shocked the notorious British social activist Mary Whitehouse into a vocal campaign against the BBC on its first TV screening.
It was, however, Buñuel’s most successful film of his entire career, winning the Best Picture award at the 1976 Venice Film Festival. A spellbinding must-have for your world cinema collection.
The 50th Anniversary Edition is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital download with brand new extras material (see below) and 6 exclusive art cards.
• Commentary by professor Peter W Evans
• The Last Script
• A Story of Perversion or Emancipation?
• Interview with Dr Sylvain Mimoun
• NEW Trailer
• NEW Jean-Claude Carrière interview (fascinating stuff)
• NEW Masterclass with Diego Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière (also very illuminating)
To accompany the re-issue and to celebrate work of the Spanish surrealist director, Buñuel: The Essential Collection, a box-set of 7 of the director’s most significant films, will be released next week (and I can’t wait).
Posted on October 17, 2017, in World Cinema and tagged Catherine Deneuve, French cinema, Jean-Claude Carrière, Luis Buñuel, Michel Piccoli, Studiocanal, Surrealism. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.