593 Belle de jour

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: 593 Belle de jour

#51 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:39 am

She's probably more famous for playing herself on an episode of Six Feet Under, the experience of which she talks about here, which is quite the funny story actually.

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Re: 593 Belle de jour

#52 Post by kinjitsu » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:09 pm

A brief outtake from Michael Wood’s commentary track

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Re: 593 Belle de jour

#53 Post by Lemmy Caution » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:50 pm

"The actual events of the ex-Olympian's past year already seem like the fever dreams of a Lifetime producer who decided to adapt Luis Bunuel’s “Belle de Jour” for basic cable."

"Suzy Favor Hamilton described the escort business as “exciting,” an illicit midlife diversion from her routine existence, one in which she operates a successful Madison, Wisconsin real estate brokerage with her husband, delivers motivational speeches, and does promotional work for various businesses and groups, including Disney’s running series and Wisconsin’s Potato & Vegetable Growers Association."
Last edited by Lemmy Caution on Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 593 Belle de jour

#54 Post by zedz » Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:57 pm


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Mr Sausage
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Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#55 Post by Mr Sausage » Wed Sep 01, 2021 12:04 am

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#56 Post by feihong » Wed Sep 01, 2021 12:54 am

So..."don't let the cats out!"

...what does it mean?

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#57 Post by feihong » Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:26 am

Everything I've read suggests it's a deliberate non-sequitur, but I want to float the suggestion that perhaps it is meant to mean something.

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#58 Post by barbarella satyricon » Wed Sep 01, 2021 10:51 am

“I find that most of the young people who see Belle de Jour, people in my [university] classes for example, don't like it as much as they liked 2001: A Space Odyssey... I think there's a separation there in sensibilities between the young and old, and I think Belle de Jour is a film that would appeal to those who grew up with a certain measure of frustration in their lives and not to the people who've grown up with so much erotic affluence that they're bored by it... And therefore, I think it is almost impossible to reconcile these two positions, to reconcile these two reactions, reaction to Belle de Jour, which I think is the best film of the year by far, and my reaction to 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

That’s Andrew Sarris. It has been actual decades since I saw this film (a one-time viewing while still in high school), and it’s always been associated in my mind with that quotation, which I read in Jerome Agel’s 2001: A Space Odyssey book (discussed briefly here) around the time I saw both films. I do remember having definite but elusive feelings about this movie, as opposed to any clear reaction to or interpretation of it, while 2001 really did just click from the very first viewing, where I just knew that I had seen, as I instinctively understood it then, a great work, and that I didn’t need to understand every aspect of the narrative or the symbolism to know that I had just gotten it, or maybe, rather, that it had thoroughly gotten me.

The Buñuel, on the other hand, still lingers in my memory as an intriguing puzzle whose mysteries and meanings feel largely removed from my sphere of reference or association, even as that sense of it being a strange and singular work remains. I think the Sarris quote speaks to why that might be. Or perhaps I may have been unduly influenced by his take when I was still too young to give Belle de Jour a proper go. I’ll plan on rewatching it while the thread is still going. I reckon it’ll look like a whole new thing this time round, an actual first-time viewing for all intents and purposes.

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#59 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Sep 01, 2021 11:12 am

One thing that surprised me about this film's effect on me -- it is important that it look good colorwise. I first saw it screened -- and was quite impressed. I next saw it one some early DVD, where it looked sort of dingy, and was far less impressed. When I finally saw it on Blu-Ray, looking more like my long-ago memories, I loved it again.

I never felt much urge to "understand" this (I caught on that this was not a useful goal from the time I saw my first Bunuel film, Discrete Charm, which I fell in love with despite understanding next to nothing). I just loved being intrigued by what went on.
Last edited by Michael Kerpan on Wed Sep 01, 2021 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#60 Post by Jack Phillips » Wed Sep 01, 2021 1:55 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 11:12 am
I never felt much urge to "understand" this
I'm with you there.

One thing I really appreciate about the Criterion release is the looping film that plays during the menu. Best menu clip ever. And so appropriate.

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#61 Post by Sloper » Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:01 am

feihong wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 12:54 am
So..."don't let the cats out!"

...what does it mean?
I think the ‘cats’ thing is a very specific but also un-explained fetish of Séverine’s: begging to be spared from the cats, or angrily refusing to let the cats in, or hearing (but not seeing) the cats nearby, seems to turn her on. Just as the turn-on is defined by constant deferral and denial (of cats), so no one, including the viewer, is ever allowed to really see or understand the nature of this desire. It’s like wondering what is buzzing inside the box, or what Husson is doing to Séverine beneath the table with that broken bottle, or why we’re never allowed to see either of these things – the point is that sexual desires are mysterious and incomprehensible.

The masochist has very specific requirements, right down to whether the whip is snatched from his hand or he gives it to the ‘marquise’ at a particular moment (I love how she quietly apologises to him for going off script, then carries on punishing him). It’s easy to observe this and infer that he likes to have control over the ways in which he is dominated, but we don’t really know why he likes this, or what the experience really means to him.

Pierre has a fetish for the wheelchair, which initially makes no sense to Séverine, but which she later embraces by imagining that he’s been consigned to the wheelchair by the man she’s been having an affair with, and then forced to listen, silently (and weeping), to news of her fall from grace, delivered by the very man who prompted that fall from grace. It feels like the sort of kinky, shame-ridden fantasy Séverine would like, but in ‘reality’ Pierre is unharmed and has his own reasons for wanting the wheelchair in his home. He and Séverine both get to ‘live with’ their fantasies at the end, without needing to expose or explain them to each other. At least that’s how I read the ending, but of course part of the joy (and terror) of it is that there are no clear distinctions between reality and fantasy.

Most films about relationships insist on the importance of knowing each other intimately, syncing up desires and then fulfilling them – or, if the couple turn out not to understand each other’s feelings, this leads to alienation and loneliness. But in Belle de Jour, it’s the fact that the individual’s desires are inexplicable, and the realisation that no one else can (or perhaps should) know or understand them, that makes for a happy relationship where both parties get what they want. It’s sort of heart-warming, but also genuinely subversive.

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#62 Post by MichaelB » Thu Sep 02, 2021 5:04 am

Michael Kerpan wrote:
Wed Sep 01, 2021 11:12 am
One thing that surprised me about this film's effect on me -- it is important that it look good colorwise. I first saw it screened -- and was quite impressed. I next saw it one some early DVD, where it looked sort of dingy, and was far less impressed. When I finally saw it on Blu-Ray, looking more like my long-ago memories, I loved it again.
This was Buñuel's only collaboration with the great Sacha Vierny (who'd already worked with Alain Resnais and who of course would later become Peter Greenaway's regular cinematographer), and so I imagine this was a pretty crucial factor; I remember an interview with Nestor Almendros who said that he really regretted never working with Buñuel because he wasn't that impressed with Edmond Richard's work on the final films and thought (almost certainly correctly, for all the implied self-aggrandisement) that he could have done a better job. Buñuel, of course, was famously indifferent to such things, as the anecdote about him insisting that Gabriel Figueroa scrap a beautifully composed landscape and instead film the characters against a bare wall demonstrates beautifully.

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#63 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Sep 02, 2021 8:52 am

It does seem that Bunuel was usually more interested in the characters than their environment (except when the environment played a role in what was going on with the characters). The only 2 later Bunuel films that strike me as visually stunning in their own right are Belle and Chambermaid. (I say this despite loving most of those late films for other reasons).

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Re: Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)

#64 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Sep 06, 2021 10:09 pm

This film has always served as a particularly unnerving demonstration of ennui for me, because of how Bunuel layers the inescapable complex of locating satisfaction in western milieus in such a deflated presentation of flaccid activity and empty outcomes. The narrative superficially draws a very real, yet hardly detailed, process where one is caught between two worlds (the safe, expected conservative life, and the perverse one of thirst for experience) and cannot find consolation in either. Deneuve is dissatisfied with her bourgeois world and has fantasies of sexual domination as a form of liberation, but cannot access the serenity from that fantasy in actuality. The real process of engaging in these behaviors is slow and carries its own forms of banal powerlessness, rather than an exciting operation with the Greatest Hits of a fantasy. If sex, as I've always seen it, is a continual exchange of power shifts whereby one can acquire pleasure from that playful rodeo between the self and trust in another, then what good is it if there's an absent pulse on self-knowledge nor willingness to participate in that affair of locating trust. Deneuve has untapped sexual desires like everyone, but the irony is that, despite literally 'taking action' in this direction, her measures don't align with the kind of enthusiasm one finds- or hopes to find- on a truly motivated adventure. It's as if she is mechanically partaking in these activities as a response to her boring, 'normal' life, but with the exact same effort and comprehension of her feelings and identity- which is to say none. It's the behavior of someone who sees life as a series of choices in binary terms, and a very sad portrait of this prison. Her impetus is to escape the inescapable feeling of being through traveling to a new external milieu- and it's all the same.

This film feels more relevant than ever in an age where many people are getting off to lewd content they would not actually wish to engage in if placed into that space in real time. The dissonance between our imagination and raw existence is frustratingly ubiquitous, especially since our minds continue to convince us that "I desire x," or more broadly, “if I only get x, I’ll be okay”- a defense mechanism that keeps our stability preserved in an artificial mirage, but is completely insecure in practice. Deneuve’s star power works wonders here because she is a blank canvas, a Yes woman, who simply exists as a beauty but without expressive features to formulate a distinct personality from the outside. One may even sense from watching her face in action that Deneuve might not even know who Deneuve ‘is’- and this film capitalizes on that quality to take a pedestaled Star and strip her of value to herself. I find this film to be one of Bunuel’s most disturbing, a tragic tale of how even the ‘social betters’ cannot access their dreams, and even worse, they don’t have a stronger handle on separating the true from the false, or gripping their wants and needs with confidence, than any of us. We watch these stars on a screen to empathize, to be seen ourselves, to share, and to vicariously succeed; but what we don’t sign up for is to be shown how vacuous our identities are, how incapable we are of achieving catharsis, how tedious our relationship between desire and actualizing desire is, as well as how incongruous these parts of us are when we slow down the dream machine. Bunuel shows us that we are blind to this discord, but it doesn’t even matter. What else are we going to do? A life of focusing outside the present, of ‘wanting’, is a Sisyphean journey of dull, shortchanged, and delusionally-meaningful returns. And yet, if we don’t do that, aren’t we engaging in the same states only in complacency?

Bunuel seems to understand that, even for those of us who strive to view the world in grey colors, our cultural influencers have injected us with an ingrained serum that will cause us to psychologically default to binary choices out of fear for existing in between clearly-defined paths. The world may not actually be comprised of sets of dichotomies, but if we are destined to discern merely the poles, and gravitate towards one only to grow weary and ping-pong back, then... isn't it? Subjectivity is a definitive trap, reinforced by the lack of supports to provoke change of habit (which, one could argue, circles back to Bunuel's stapled bourgeois attacks). Even in her fantasies, Deneuve appears confused and ambivalent about the gratification she's getting from being demeaned, but it's on her mind, and not indicative of where she's at in her humdrum social life, so perhaps it's predetermined. The concept of free will hardly exists in Bunuel's film, for even if it does, it's hardly 'free'- certainly not liberating, nor is it truly aligned with any 'self-actualized' will. The premonition of Deneuve's husband eyeing the wheel chair and declaring his preoccupation "strange" is cheeky as Deneuve casts the connection aside nonchalantly with "there's nothing strange about it." Is the film deterministic, or is the attraction to a condition opposite to one's current state always the magnetic impulse, and thus inevitable to occur in some form eventually? Deneuve's apathy is ambiguous- either she 'gets' it, or doesn't care, but either way it's just another example of a character having a strong feeling in this film that is stripped of meaning immediately, and certainly not shared or trusted with the person that (we have an expectation) should share and trust it with us as an ally.

The husband's wheelchair stint doesn't even shift the power balance in the way a film like Phantom Thread does with its continual alterations. Paul Thomas Anderson's film is far more optimistic, in my mind, because the thesis seems to honor that we can lose and re-find motivation through passion, even if there is a fatalistic complacency and selfishness inherent in these dynamics. PTA knows that love, like anything in life, does not follow a linear rhythm, but can find one that works. He posits that the valleys are necessary to achieve the high peaks- all possible through the process of 'signing up' again and again. We can be devoted partners in a relationship as long as the vitality and commitment and affection is there: the emotion will come, and fuse, and we will know harmony and peace, for a time. Belle de jour, on the other hand, omits any such passion- and the husband's brief state leaves him in the same submissive position he's always been in- though both parties are essentially subs, and where they're dominant doesn't count in the slightest because they aren't aware of, or enjoying, said power. Bunuel's film posits that life is linear, but totally static, inert on a plateau nobody has the tools or vision to break away from towards something greater.

My favorite scene in the film is when Deneuve fantasizes about getting attention from her husband at her funeral, because it fits precisely in line with her more (deceptively-)sexually fetishized fantasies and implicitly reveals them to not be sexually-charged at all. It's just what is not-"this" current experience. The attention is no more emotionally-charged or spectacular, but it must be better if it's not this! Even death. We have to hope. Too bad there's only one direction, one rigidly-marked extreme to place that hope. Sisyphus is pushing a boulder on level ground and doesn't even know it.

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