The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie

Starring Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stephane Audran and Jean-Pierre Casssell
Written by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carriere
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Running time 102 minutes
France/Italy/Spain 1972

The great Spanish director Luis Buñuel was a member of the Surrealist movement in the 20s and 30s when he famously collaborated with Salvador Dali on two notorious films - Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or. Both contained extraordinary imagery (which even today has the power to shock) and were light years ahead of what others were doing with the moving image at the time. Buñuel’s career continued, often courting controversy, with lengthy spells in the United States and Mexico before he returned to Europe in the early 1960s. After making Tristana with Catherine Deneuve in 1970 he announced his retirement.

It was not to last long however and by 1972 he had co-written and completed tonight’s film - The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie.  Based on several of his recurring dreams the story tells of a group of friends who are in search of dinner but never manage to achieve their very bourgeois aim. Along the way we are shown their dreams and hidden anxieties and often tricked in delightful ways by both the narrative and the filmmaker.  Buñuel gathered a star cast of European actors to play this group -  creating a world without conventional logic but with a sharply satirical take on middle class life.  This is
 a deft, witty and effortlessly accomplished piece of cinema which could only have been made by Buñuel and which began a late flowering of his unique talent. He went on to make two more wonderful surreal comedies   - The Phantom Of Liberty and That Obscure Object Of Desire -  before his death in 1983.

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie won Buñuel an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film - he did not attend the ceremony and subsequently told a journalist that he had paid $25,000 in advance to be awarded it!