Belle De Jour

"Extraordinary"

Belle De Jour Review


Martin Scorsese has done us all a great service by reviving the little-seen classic, Belle De Jour, Luis Buñuel darkly comic and disturbing 1967 tale of Séverine (Catherine Deneuve), a woman who lives a double life. By evening she is the steadfast, almost-frigid wife of a famed French doctor (Jean Sorel). By day, she is "Belle de Jour"--her new "stage name" at an exclusive Parisian brothel.

Buñuel weaves masterfully through scenes of Séverine's hum-drum existence with her cold husband, her surreal day job as a wanton prostitute, flashbacks to her childhood, and bizarre daydreams of her humiliation, bondage, rape, and torture. Deneuve is exquisite, playing one of the most difficult roles imaginable with her characteristic grace. I find it incredible that this film has gone unnoticed for so long.

At the heart of Belle is the question of how our selfish actions affect those around us. While Séverine's infidelity first seems incomprehensible, it soon becomes a vital part of her being and, eventually, degenerates into an inevitable nightmare which brings her world crashing down.

The sheer force that builds up behind the film's first scene had me thunderstruck for its entire 100 minutes. Deeply compelling, while remaining tasteful and never approaching pornographic, the film is an eerie exposé of the haunting desires that lie within us all. You truly have to see it for yourself.

The only problems with the film were some poor post-production values. First was the difficulty of a scratchy print with some skipped frames, especially noticeable during the imagery-filled daydream sequences. More troubling were the incomplete subtitles, which often left out seemingly important snippets of dialogue. Maybe they weren't important after all, but it was enough to break the fragile mood.

Regardless, Belle De Jour tells a story that desperately needs to be heard and which is even more relevant today than when it was made 28 years ago. A true classic worthy of its highest praises, I urge you to see it.



Belle De Jour

Facts and Figures

Run time: 101 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 10th April 1968

Distributed by: Miramax Zoe

Production compaines: Paris Films Productions, Five Films, Robert et Raymond Hakim

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Luis Buñuel

Starring: as Séverine Serizy, as Henri Husson, Jean Sorel as Pierre Serizy, Geneviève Page as Madame Anais, Pierre Clémenti as Marcel, Françoise Fabian as Charlotte, Macha Méril as Renée, Georges Marchal as Graf, as Hyppolite, Luis Buñuel as Man in Gardencafe

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.