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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

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.