Buñuel: The Essential Collection

1977
Rated TBC by the BBFC
Buñuel: The Essential Collection Film Poster

Synopsis

Collection of seven films by Spanish film-maker 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). It's not long before Celestine clashes with her supervisor 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) bored doctor's wife Séverine Serizy (Catherine Deneuve) hears of a brothel operating near her home and, struck by a sudden desire, goes there to offer her services in the afternoons. While there she encounters a wide range of characters, only to eventually run into trouble with a gangster and a friend of her husband. 'Tristana' (1970) follows 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 (Deneuve) eventually fleeing to Madrid, where 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 Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie' (1972) well-to-do couple the Thévenots (Paul Frankeur and Delphine Seyrig) accompany friends Rafael Acosta (Fernando Rey) and 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 (Rey), a widowed French businessman, becomes obsessed with a Spanish girl named Conchita (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina). She claims to feel the same for him but nevertheless continually frustrates the realisation of his desire. '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, 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 Milky Way' (1969) follows two tramps as they undertake a pilgrimage from Paris to Compostello, Spain. Along the way they meet a prostitute (Seyrig), the Devil (Pierre Clémenti), the Virgin Mary (Edith Scob), the Marquis de Sade (Michel Piccoli) and Jesus (Bernard Verley).