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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.