Film Scouts Reviews

"Belle de Jour"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Originally released in 1967, Luis Bunuel's sly black comedy of eros is finally being seen again after almost twenty years out of circulation. Catherine Deneuve gives an extraordinarily subtle and nuanced performance as Severine, a bourgeois Parisian housewife who spends her afternoons as a working girl in a discreet brothel. Because she'll only agree to stay from two until five in the afternoon, she's named Belle de Jour by the bordello's madame (Genevieve Page). The plot f-b f+i-f-b f-i will Severine's husband (Jean Sorel), a handsome, sensitive doctor, discover Belle de Jour? will her favorite client, a Carnaby-Street-style gangster (Pierre Clementi) discover Severine? - is secondary to Bunuel's masterful manipulations. His film is ironically detached, yet it gets hauntingly under your skin with its daring mix of fantasy, repression, desire and all manner of puckish perversities. A quarter of a century after it was made and a decade after Bunuel's death, "Belle de Jour" continues to baffle and beguile. And seduce.

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