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


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Product Details

  • Actors: Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Paul Frankeur, Bulle Ogier, Stéphane Audran
  • Directors: Javier Rioyo, José Luis López-Linares, Luis Buñuel
  • Writers: Luis Buñuel, Agustín Sánchez Vidal, Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Producers: Frida Torresblanco, Jorge Sánchez
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Criterion / Vid Canada
  • Release Date: March 23 2001
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004Z1FM
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,932 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

Product Description

In Luis Buñuel's deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to dinner but never eats, their attempts continually thwarted by a vaudevillian mixture of events both actual and imagined. Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyring, and Jean-Pierre Cassel head the extraordinary cast of this 1972 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. Criterion is proud to present The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie in an exclusive Special Edition Double-Disc Set.

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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

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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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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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By A Customer on April 16 2002
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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Format: DVD
Luis Bunuel's late-period comedy, "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) will probably puzzle as many people as it delights. It's not as outrageous or as blasphemous as his great films like "L'Age d'Or", "Viridiana", or "The Exterminating Angel" nor is there the acute psychological delving into repression that makes "Belle de Jour" and "Tristiana" such bracing viewing. This is, as the late Pauline Kael remarked, "a cosmic vaudeville show" - a series of set pieces that are all designed to play off not only the hypocrisies of the European middle classes but also the viewer's ingrained notion that a film actually has to mean something or even have a purposeful narrative. Bunuel shoots this film in a very matter-of-fact style - no dramatic cues, no music, no delineation of character. It's all a series of jokes, targeted at the very audiences who would go to see his films.
The film is always enjoyable and there are funny bits of business interpersed throughout - I enjoyed the tedious moralizing of one self-satisfied stuffed shift who complains that the army is being ruined by drugs, all the while he's an associate in the illegal drug trade. The film won't offend anyone the way "Viridiana" or "Belle de Jour" still might but that's another way of saying that it doesn't have those films' ferocious provocative power either. In other words, it's merely wonderful rather than breathtaking.
Still, Criterion has created another top drawer DVD package. Not only is the film's transfer superb (it looks like it was just released yesterday) but there's very good documentary on the second disc outlining the main features of Bunuel's career. (A second, lesser, documentary appears on the first disc).
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