Delphine Seyrig

Delphine Seyrig

Delphine Seyrig Quick Links

Film RSS

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review


Essential
Bunuel's marvellously surreal satire pokes lacerating fun at the snobby, unflappable French middle class. Shot like a sitcom, it's a snappy look at the ridiculous inequity of Western society, peeling back the veneer of civilisation in a way that's even more timely now than it was in 1972.

Ambassador Acosta (Rey) and three friends (Frankenur, Seyrig and Ogier) arrive at a country house for dinner, but discover that they're a day early. And rescheduling the meal proves rather complicated, as the men are secretly involved in an illicit drug deal, and hosts Alice and Henri (Audran and Cassel) would rather sneak off for sex. The interruptions to their rescheduled meal become increasingly surreal, including a tea room that runs out of tea, a group of soldiers on manoeuvres and a gang of armed thugs.

Continue reading: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review

Last Year at Marienbad Review


Excellent
Upon its release in France, Alain Resnais' Last Year in Marienbad caused the streets surrounding local cinemas to be crowded by intellectuals, college students, and nouvelle vague die-hards. In the US, it posited itself in theaters alongside the release of another visual haiku on questionable existence -- Roger Corman's Premature Burial. It would later be spoofed by Woody Allen, get outright cribbed by Stanley Kubrick and Almodóvar, be recognized as a seminal work by giddy surrealists, and denounced as one of the worst films ever made by right-wing talking heads. It would also serve as the basis for Brit-rock pioneers Blur's video for "To the End."

It remains, however, a work of compressed and canny nothingness -- liquefied time dribbled over the remains of a love affair that may or may not have happened. A testament to leading lady Delphine Seyrig's virile gaze, Resnais has famously stated that the film is about nothing but this wouldn't stop the critical forge to make it into everything. Jonas Mekas claimed it nothing but a "pretentious ornament" while a pre-Kael New Yorker likened it to Finnegan's Wake; the New York Times' claim that it was "the 'furtherest out' movie we've ever had" would be laughable even if the publication wasn't printed on Jack Smith's home planet. Marriages ended; friends became blood enemies; sons and daughters were disowned for the length of its 33-week run at The Carnegie.

Continue reading: Last Year at Marienbad Review

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review


Essential
From the moment his 16-minute Surrealist dirty bomb Un Chien andalou was dropped on an unsuspecting Paris in 1929 until the time of his death in Mexico in 1983, director Luis Buñuel patiently and gleefully held court as cinema's most steadfast, outspoken, and off-handedly inflammatory enemy of "polite" society. He built a career on his contempt for unexamined social mores and the gluttonous, self-righteous civic and religious leaders who perpetuated them, and he wasn't just fooling around. As a representative attack, consider this sequence from his 1930 feature L'Âge d'or: We're informed by intertitle that over the course of a long weekend in a locked mountain chateau, a group of depraved rapists and murderers have been having their way with a bevy of adolescent male and female virgins, whom they then torture and kill. The scene is based on the same Marquis de Sade material that served as the basis for Pier Paolo Pasolini's unconscionable Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom, the difference being that here Buñuel has thoughtfully included Jesus Christ among the deviants. He is even seen to drag an injured, escaping girl off screen, the assumption being, when she doesn't return, that He has finished her off. Was Paris burning? No, but once word of L'Âge d'or got around, you may rest assured that some of her theaters were.

Buñuel's cheerful blasphemy was, as you can imagine, shocking, but his commitment to relaying narrative through free-associative, non-linear images - his commitment, that is, to the Surrealist creed that raged among Parisian artists - was seen by many to be as grave an affront. Audiences grew hostile, it seems, when, in Buñuel's films, livestock lounged about in the beds of debutantes or miffed gamekeepers shot and killed children to blow off steam. Buñuel, who was a Spaniard, suffered a more concrete hardship when Fascists took power in Madrid in 1938; he eventually settled in Mexico in 1946, returning to Spain in 1961 where General Franco banned his first new film, Viridiana, just as hurriedly as the jury at Cannes awarded it the Palme d'or. And so Buñuel relocated to France, now in his 60s, and at an age when most directors have retired or have long since begun recycling their own material, he entered one of the most fertile periods enjoyed by any filmmaker anywhere. There are masterpieces scattered among Buñuel's French films like confetti, but in his 1972 comedy The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, one of cinema's most brilliant directors made the most brilliant film of his career.

Continue reading: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review

Donkey Skin Review


OK
If you see just one film with a donkey that craps gold and jewels, see this one. Jacques Demy's bizarre fairy tale stars his favorite muse, Catherine Deneuve, in a story unlike anything you've ever seen: A king attempts to marry his own daughter (Deneuve), so she's whisked away in a donkey skin by her fairy godmother. Did I mention the blue people and the donkey that craps gold? Fine for kids.

Continue reading: Donkey Skin Review

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review


Essential
From the moment his 16-minute Surrealist dirty bomb Un Chien andalou was dropped on an unsuspecting Paris in 1929 until the time of his death in Mexico in 1983, director Luis Buñuel patiently and gleefully held court as cinema's most steadfast, outspoken, and off-handedly inflammatory enemy of "polite" society. He built a career on his contempt for unexamined social mores and the gluttonous, self-righteous civic and religious leaders who perpetuated them, and he wasn't just fooling around. As a representative attack, consider this sequence from his 1930 feature L'Âge d'or: We're informed by intertitle that over the course of a long weekend in a locked mountain chateau, a group of depraved rapists and murderers have been having their way with a bevy of adolescent male and female virgins, whom they then torture and kill. The scene is based on the same Marquis de Sade material that served as the basis for Pier Paolo Pasolini's unconscionable Salò, or The 120 Days of Sodom, the difference being that here Buñuel has thoughtfully included Jesus Christ among the deviants. He is even seen to drag an injured, escaping girl off screen, the assumption being, when she doesn't return, that He has finished her off. Was Paris burning? No, but once word of L'Âge d'or got around, you may rest assured that some of her theaters were.

Buñuel's cheerful blasphemy was, as you can imagine, shocking, but his commitment to relaying narrative through free-associative, non-linear images - his commitment, that is, to the Surrealist creed that raged among Parisian artists - was seen by many to be as grave an affront. Audiences grew hostile, it seems, when, in Buñuel's films, livestock lounged about in the beds of debutantes or miffed gamekeepers shot and killed children to blow off steam. Buñuel, who was a Spaniard, suffered a more concrete hardship when Fascists took power in Madrid in 1938; he eventually settled in Mexico in 1946, returning to Spain in 1961 where General Franco banned his first new film, Viridiana, just as hurriedly as the jury at Cannes awarded it the Palme d'or. And so Buñuel relocated to France, now in his 60s, and at an age when most directors have retired or have long since begun recycling their own material, he entered one of the most fertile periods enjoyed by any filmmaker anywhere. There are masterpieces scattered among Buñuel's French films like confetti, but in his 1972 comedy The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, one of cinema's most brilliant directors made the most brilliant film of his career.

Continue reading: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Review

Delphine Seyrig

Delphine Seyrig Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Youth - Trailer

Youth - Trailer

Set in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Youth sees Michael Caine & Harvey Keitel in a fine piece of work.

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through a checklist of the major events.

Advertisement
New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New reports indicate that eagerly awaited albums by Adele and Coldplay are set...

45 Years - Movie Review

45 Years - Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a quiet conversation than any number of...

Advertisement