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March 01, 2009

BELLE DE JOUR — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Belle De JourLuis Bunuel’s study of BDSM eroticism stars Catherine Deneuve as the wife of a wealthy doctor who begins spending her afternoons working in a high-class French brothel catering to the unique kinks of its international clientele.

Catherine Deneuve’s upper-class ice queen Severine has fetishistic day dreams that arrive with a sound cue of sleigh bells to signal surreal undercurrents in BDSM acts that include her being bound and whipped by her husband’s horsemen while her handsome mate watches. Luis Bunuel conveys a tangible filmic interpretation of perverse sensual desires wrapped up in social taboos. Voyeurism plays a significant role in Bunuel’s depiction of Severine’s untamed desires that percolate beneath her frigid façade. 

BELLE DE JOUR

Outrageous and yet anchored in sensual desire and erotic fantasy, “Belle de Jour” is a fascinating cinematic achievement that dares to connect Deneuve’s porcelain beauty to a world of bourgeois rebellion. Here is a sublime picture filled with surprise, nuance, and a narcotic dose of Catherine Deneuve putting her exotic beauty in the service of surrealism's most provocative filmmaker. Restrained and beautifully conceived, Bunuel’s depiction of sadomasochistic desires achieves something few films ever do, truth. 

Belle-de-Jour2

Not Rated. 101 mins. (A+) (Five stars — out of five / no halves.

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