#124: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) — Dir. Luis Buñuel

Part of the Top 150 Films series

“When I first heard the title, I thought, “Finally! Someone’s going to tell the truth about the bourgeoisie!” What a disappointment. It would be hard to imagine a less fair or, or accurate portrait.” I find Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan to be a frustrating film, but its lead character’s befuddled takedown is the best review I’ve heard for Discreet Charm. A deceptively simple premise — six upper-class friends/confidantes/enemies try to get through a dinner without some form of interruption — is mined for every barb imaginable. Played completely straight (of which Bulle Ogier is first among equals for deadpan) to wonderful effect, the Buñuelian charms arrive thick and fast: dream sequences which turn into Matryoshka dolls, the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church in full force, and sexual hijinks. Jean-Pierre Cassel and Stéphane Audran picking the post-coital bush branches off one another is by far my favourite running gag!