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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Widescreen) (The Criterion Collection)

Fernando Rey , Delphine Seyrig , Luis Buñuel , Javier Rioyo    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
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What can be more enjoyable then a meal among friends and family? In Luis Buñuel's surrealistic comedy The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie it is this common ritual a sextet of upper-class friends repeatedly attempt, only to be obstructed by one obscure event after another. Masterfully balancing the dichotomy of class vs. debauchery Buñuel delivers a ripping critique of the upper class. It is clear from the beginning that the lives Buñuel’s Bourgeoisie are living are not what they seem. Eventually, their true colors begin to shine; not in actual actions but in haunting dreams. What is real and what lies in the subconscious becoming exceedingly blurry and in order to deliver his message, surrealism must take over. It is hard to pigeonhole Buñuel’s classic that won him the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film 1972: An absurd odyssey? A discreet satire? Not necessarily, but definitely charming. --Rob Bracco

Special Features

Criterion has put together an impressive set in honor of Luis Buñuel's 100th Birthday. First and foremost, this newly restored, high-definition 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer is a visual treat. The cleaned up French mono soundtrack also has new English subtitles providing a more accurate translation. The set includes two documentaries on the work of Buñuel. "El Naufrago De La Calle De La Providencia" is a collage of images, friends’ stories, and home movie clips that serve as a tribute to the Spanish filmmaker. "A proposito de Buñuel (2000)," a 98-minute documentary on the life and work of Buñuel, provides further insight on the surrealistic filmmaker, his ideas, his life and his art. If you are new to Buñuel, this documentary is an excellent introduction to get you up to speed on his esoteric work. If you are already a fan, it will provide lots of new information that will have you longing to revisit his catalog. --Rob Bracco

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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent surrealism on film June 23 2004
By Ted
Format:DVD
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, under its original title "Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie" remains one of the most famous surrealist films. Directed by Luis Buñuel, the md credited with creating surrealsim on film does an excellent job in this film.
The story is about six high class people trying to have a meal together, each time they do so, they are interrupted one way or another. Each interruption becomes increasingly more unusual and humorous. The film has excellent acting and humor with great scenery of the French countryside.
This film also won an Academy Award® for best Foreign language film. It is wel deserving of the award though the competition that year was not very difficult. It was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay and lost to "The Candidate"
The Criterion DVD has some great special features also. There is a theatrical trailer and two seperate biographies on Luis Buñuel. Disc 1 contains the film, the theatrical trailer, and a poorly pre-subtitled biography on Buñuel. This documentary is titled, "El náufrago de la calle de Providencia" or "The castaway on Providence Street" which originally aired on television in 1970 in Mexico It is 24 minutes in length.
Disc two contains an all new documentary "A propósito de Buñuel" or "Speaking of Buñuel". This documentary is 98 minutes long and is a retrospective on Buñuel's life intercut with footage of his movies and interviews with family and friends Buñuel. The subtitles on this documentary are a lot better. This documentary contains scenes that may not be suitable for children and young teens.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful tales of charm and horror April 8 2004
Format:DVD
Bunuel's handling of narrative is nothing short of masterful in this film. The work's structure is akin to a collection of interconnected short stories - stories that have important ties with Poe's more satirical writings. Each tale offers either a variation on one or more of the film's main characters, or an episode linked in one way or another to the events that surround it. These tales are interesting enough when considered individually, but they gain further levels of meaning if we read them in parallel with the whole work. The film is at once literary and extremely cinematic: the thematic, 'writerly' depth is enhanced by remarkable visual coherence; the cool, precise style hides constant subversion and images range from the brutally shocking to the lyrical. It is customary but somewhat erroneous to say that this work goes back-and-forth between dreams and 'reality' - Bunuel blurs the line between them until differenciation becomes close to impossible. This is a major achievement from one of the supreme masters of the fantastic art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant, Surreal And Charming. Nov. 16 2002
Format:DVD
Among the works of the best directors of the 20th century, the films of Luis Bunuel stand out as some of the most original and provocative. It is especially refreshing to find what an impressive DVD set Criterion put together for the centenery of this, one of the greatest masters of the cinema. "The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie" was Bunuel's most successful movie, it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film and remains fresh, entertaining, fascinating, stylish and strong. It is a brilliant collage of surrealism and criticsm, it is at once a movie that has something to say about social realities and a fantasy that plays like a weird dream. It speaks to the realities of social order and the strangeness of life. Bunuel cheerfully goes for the surprisingly absurd, like a priest offering to be a rich couple's gardener (this later goes into a scene where the priest has to absolve the killer of his parents and in Bunuel fashion, after he finishes the prayers he picks up a rifle and shoots the man). The movie is also visually enchanting, Bunuel's shots are seductive in their own way with the way he films rooms, feet, people and events. There are vibrant colors and the dialogue is wonderfully intelligent. And it is never boring, Bunuel takes us through one strange event after the other, never letting the movie slow down for anything. The second disc in this set is a great treat for fans of Bunuel. It contains the brand new, 2000 documentary "A Proposito De Bunuel (Speaking Of Bunuel)." It's a fascinating, rich documentary on the life and work on Bunuel which features clips from all his classics including "Un Chien Andalou" and "Los Olvidados" and it traces his work from France to Mexico, Spain and back to France. Read more ›
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4.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat bourgeois movie. April 16 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
First of all, what a title! -- *The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie*. Perhaps it was inevitable that the movie itself couldn't quite live up to such a grandiloquent heading. But understand this: a not-quite-masterpiece from Bunuel is superior to, like, 95% of all other movies out there. His inventiveness, his willingness to open his mind, and of course his technical mastery -- all of which are amply on display in *Discreet Charm* -- really ought to shame directors half his age at the time (72!). I'll quickly go over a couple of sore spots that prevent me from giving this movie 5 stars: Bunuel's introduction of student revolutionaries seems a perfunctory nod to the fashion of the times (1972): a plotline involving a young terrorist woman comes to nothing much. Also, there may be one too many surrealist dreams in the movie: after awhile, you start figuring out what's a gag and what isn't, and the climaxes of these sequences don't always pay off. Finally, one may rightly wonder if the basic premise of the movie, which is whether or not a group of idle upper-class people get to eat a decent meal, is really worthy of Bunuel's talents. Or to put it another way, are these people deserving of the director's generosity? (I prefer the savage, uncompromising Bunuel to this mellow, live-and-let-live incarnation of his later years.) On the other hand, the relaxing of the old class hatreds here in *Discreet Charm* indicates a charity of spirit that's rather inspiring. And for the Bunuel devotee, you get your requisite bugs and guns, not to mention such staples as Fernando Rey . . . the inevitable Bishop . . . the ingenuous housemaid . . . so forth. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good disc
Great film at a great price. Although this is definitely not a film for every taste... if you enjoy Bunuel's irreverent humor and surreal touches and have not seen this one yet... Read more
Published 16 months ago by nobody
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film.
C'est un excellent film de Bunuel. On s'amuse tout le temps. Chaque scène est bien faite. L'image et le son sont bonnes mais, malheureusement il n'y a pas des... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Cardo
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection for the Bourgeois
Le film est fantastique... le prix est ridiculement élevé. Il y a des compagnies qui produisent des rééditions de films obscurs avec autant de soins... Read more
Published on Oct. 25 2008 by Jean-Pierre Malo
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes its a masterpiece, but it didn't do it for me.
I'd like to be able to say that I was blown away by this film. It is after all one of bunel's most famous and most loved. But I wasn't. It was fun. It was quirky. Very odd. Read more
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Philip D. Worfel
5.0 out of 5 stars Couple of people trying to have some lunch ???!
Lois Bunuel at his best ! Few people trying to have some lunch ?! But everything goes wrong ... One of the smartest and funniest films , I've ever seen . Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2002 by Vlad
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film and wonderful documentary on Bunel!
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, one of Bunel's most popular films, is a great one! I love the acting, the satirical elements, and playfulness of the film. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars "French Python"
Luis Bunuel, friend and contemporary of fellow Spaniard Salvador Dali, was the cinematic equivalent of his compatriot: an artist who chose surrealism as his vehicle of expression. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2001 by Eddy Oquendo
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Buñuel, Great Package
Luis Bunuel's late-period comedy, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) will probably puzzle as many people as it delights. Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2001 by Nowhere Man
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, fantastic DVD package
I have about 15 Criterion DVDs, and this is probably the best: a wonderful surreal comedy given a fabulous transfer to DVD. Read more
Published on April 20 2001 by Alexander Leach
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