It was Luis Bunuel's "Belle de Jour"the story of a respectable young wife who secretly works in a brothel one or two afternoons a week. Actors sometimes create "back stories" for their characters -- things they know about them that we don't. I became convinced that if Nicole Kidman's character in the Kubrick film had a favorite film of her own, it was "Belle de Jour.
Such an appellation might be justified of a film preoccupied with a conventional cinematic rendering of soft focus bodies breathing heavily over a melodious soundtrack. Not so Belle de Jour. Certainly it is an erotic picture, but not for the reasons one might think.
Yet the deeper she digs the more her bourgeois existence is threatened. However prompted by Pierre discovering the truth of her double life the sadomasochistic fantasies soon return, more intrusive and vivid than ever. She is guilty for desiring her fantasies; remove the guilt and she no longer derives pleasure.
The current best-seller Fifty Shades of Greywith its female fantasies of bondage, sadism and discipline, has brought an eruption of media comment, as if this were a shocking new cultural phenomenon. It might seem odd, given that gave the world the hippy-trippy Summer of Love, but this was also a year that saw a much darker and repressed side of sexuality bursting into cultural view. Although French critics sniffed, the French public turned out en masse and in the autumn it was awarded the top prize of the Venice Film Festival, the Golden Lion. The French premiere was only two months behind the release of The Velvet Underground's Andy Warhol-sponsored debut album, whose bold choice of subject matter, including hard drugs 'Heroin' and sado-masochism 'Venus in Furs', inspired by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch's novelwas unprecedented in popular music.
Sex, however, is another matter. He wants it. Riding in a carriage with Sorel, she rejects his advances.
A coach drives down a long country lane. It's an autumn afternoon in the pale sunshine. In the back of the carriage is Severine Catherine Deneuvea beautiful, blonde-haired woman, and her husband Pierre Jean Sorel.
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A collaboration with fellow surrealist Salvador Dali, the shot of an eyeball being split open ranks among the most immortal of all film images. His most recognized masterpieces are The Exterminating Angel —the infamous plot where a group of upperclass partygoers find themselves unable to leave a room—and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. His biggest financial success was Belle de Joura French production starring Catherine Deneuve at the peak of her fame, and its acclaim continues to grow as a new 4K restoration enjoys a repertory tour, making a stop at Vancity Theatre from January 12 th th.
And in color. The exquisitely beautiful Catherine Deneuve is a new wife, married to a devoted but job-preoccupied doctor, Jean Sorel. There is connubiality but precious little bliss.