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NEW Belle Toujours (DVD)


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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I have yet to see a bad Manoel de Oliveira film.... July 7 2008
By Grigory's Girl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is yet one more excellent film in the oeuvre of Manoel de Oliveira. It's another endlessly fascinating, intellectual, thoughtful, and dark film. It's not technically a sequel to Luis Bunuel's Belle de Jour, more like a tribute and a coda to the original story. You don't have to see Belle de Jour to understand this film, but it helps. De Oliveira doesn't try to outdo Bunuel here (except when a chicken makes a cameo), but instead has his own unique, fascinating take of the main characters from Belle de Jour (if you want to see a Manoel de Oliveira film where he gives Bunuel a run for his money, check out Magic Mirror, the film he made before this one). Michel Piccoli once again meets Bulle Ogier (she replaced Catherine Deneuve here), and asks her to dinner. He expects to "rekindle" their relationship, but he's in for quite a surprise.

This is a deceptively simple film. It's beautifully shot, acted, written, and directed. Piccoli is wonderful and charming, and Ogier gives her character an edge here that, dare I say, Deneuve might have missed. Richardo Trepa, a De Oliveira regular, plays a bartender here and he is wonderful, turning in one of his best performances in Manoel's work. The script is quite literate, and the first part of the concluding dinner scene is fascinating, as it is done without any dialogue. All you hear is Ogier and Piccoli eating. When their conversation starts, it's intense, real, sad, bitter, and very poetic. The whole film works wonderfully.

The only complaint I have is that the film is too short. It runs just over an hour (70 minutes), and I wished it was longer. New Yorker Video gave this film a fine transfer, and has some great interviews with de Oliveira, Piccoli, Ogier, and Trepa. The de Oliveira interview was recorded two days after the opening of his retrospective at BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn. I met Manoel on the opening day of the retrospective(they were screening his latest film, Christopher Columbus, The Enigma, a good film, but like Belle Toujours, too short), and it is one of the greatest experiences of my life meeting him. This is one of his best films.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a self-indulgent time-waster Dec 12 2009
By Roland E. Zwick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Running just a little over an hour in length, "Belle Toujours" is Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira's homage to "Belle De Jour," the classic French film from the 1960s, written and directed by Luis Bunuel. The original featured Catherine Deneuve as a beautiful bored housewife with masochistic fantasies who whiles away her afternoons working as a prostitute in a Paris brothel. In the "sequel," Michel Piccoli returns as Henri Husson, the friend who first suggested the brothel to Severine, and who, all these years later, has decided to have a rendezvous with the woman.

Though Piccoli reprises his role from the first movie, Severine is played by a different actress (Bulle Oglier), a casting imbalance that plays havoc with the symmetry of the piece. At least for "A Man and a Woman: Twenty Years Later," yet another misguided attempt at recapturing the magic of an earlier film, both Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant showed up for the reunion - though one can certainly sympathize with Deneuve`s reluctance to lend her talents to this film, which is smug, self-indulgent, talky and inert, and does nothing to enhance one's memory of the original work (happily, the utter innocuousness of the film also prevents it from HARMING that memory as well).

Henri basically spends the first two-thirds of the movie vainly trying to "connect" with Severine (they keep just missing one another, like in one of those Feydeau bedroom farces), and the last third dining with her in an opulent private room where they talk at length about the past and she tries to convince him that she's a "different" woman from the one he knew before - which should be perfectly obvious to anyone who remembers Catherine Deneuve. Then it all culminates in a fizzle-out ending, and we're left dumbfounded and openmouthed, wondering what the purpose for any of it could possibly have been.

One thing, however, is for certain: "Belle Toujours" is a complete waste of time and film.
Complete Waste of Time April 28 2014
By Colin E. Manning - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Even the most open-minded and patient of viewers will find this movie extraordinarily slow. The attempt to compensate for the pace with elegance and beauty, is unsuccessful. After a long time of being led down the garden path, we are eventually denied a ending. This movie is a elaborate hoax.
Rare Ending to a Masterpiece Dec 17 2013
By hernan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have chosen this rating because the film was not what I expected. Somewhat slow and with a story that was hard to believe.
The film tried to follow some of Buñuel's cinematic plots and images, but it was short of the mark, in my opinion.
Not Heady Nor Smart Aug. 10 2014
By monsieurpatric - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nice try but this is not the greatest "what if/what happened" successor work.


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