Luis Buñuel Collection

1977
Rated TBC by the BBFC
Luis Buñuel Collection Film Poster

Synopsis

A collection of films by Spanish auteur Luis Buñuel. In 'The Diary of a Chambermaid' (1964), Jeanne Moreau stars as Celestine, a beautiful and sharp-witted young maid from Paris who arrives to work on the rural Normandy estate of the wealthy Monsieur Rabour (Jean Ozenne), his daughter Madame Monteil (Françoise Lugagne) and her husband Monsieur Montiel (Michel Piccoli), soon becoming conversant with the family's many quirks. A scathing commentary on the fascism that was gaining ground in 1930s France underpins the film, as Celestine realises that, despite their hypocrisy and moral corruption, it is not her dim-witted bourgeois employers that pose a threat so much as the scheming, Jew-hating upper servant Joseph (Georges Géret), who rules the servants with intimidation and colludes with his bourgeois employers to serve his own interests. In 'Belle De Jour' (1967), a bored doctor's wife (Catherine Deneuve) hears of a brothel operating near her home. Struck by a sudden desire, she goes to the brothel and offers her services in the afternoons. She encounters a wide range of characters, eventually running into a friend of her husband... In 'Tristana' (1970), Deneuve plays a young devout woman who goes to live with her male guardian after her mother's death. His intentions towards her are clearly more than fatherly, however, leading to an enforced marriage and Tristana eventually fleeing to Madrid, when she falls in love with a young artist. Years later, afflicted with a life-threatening illness, she plots revenge against the man who had stripped her of her innocence. In the surrealist satire 'The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie' (1972), well-to-do couple the Thévenots (Paul Frankeur and Delphine Seyrig), accompany M. Thévenot's colleague Rafael Acosta (Fernando Rey) and Mme. Thévenot's sister Florence (Bulle Ogier), to the house of Henri and Alice Sénéchal (Jean-Pierre Cassel and Stéphane Audran), who are hosting a dinner party. So begins a series of increasingly bizarre episodes and surreal dream sequences as the diners, over the course of the following days, find themselves repeatedly frustrated in their attempts at eating out. In 'That Obscure Object of Desire' (1977), Mathieu (Fernando Rey), a widowed French businessman, becomes obsessed with a Spanish girl named Conchita (Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina). She claims to feel the same for him but nevertheless continually frustrates the realisation of his desire. Meanwhile, in the background, a series of terrorist bomb attacks are carried out by the Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus. The dream-like, plotless comedy 'The Phantom of Liberty' (1974) begins with a man who falls in love with a statue during the Napoleonic wars and then moves to the modern day, where we meet a man distributing pornographic postcards (actually just pictures of public monuments), a young girl who has disappeared but who nevertheless helps the police as they prepare to search for her, and a group of dinner party guests who sit on toilets around a large dining table and then politely excuse themselves when they need to go outside and eat. Finally, the allegorical tale 'The Milky Way' (1969) follows two tramps as they undertake a pilgrimage from Paris to Compostello, Spain. Along the way they meet a prostitute, the devil, the Virgin Mary, the Marquis de Sade and Jesus.