Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie
This is by far one of my favourite film of all time. Buñuel has always been a one of a kind director contributing with Salvador Dali on the surrealism with his Un chien andalou and L’Âge d’or, two masterpieces of moviemaking and dreamlike sequences that every self-respected cinephile should have seen. The symbolism of these instinctive films as so many levels of understanding and such depth that a simple essay on them isn’t enough to crack their codes.
Let’s get back to Le charme discrèt de la bourgeoisie made almost fifty years after Buñuel’s first films! What strikes you the most is how the surrealism that characterized his first films is still omnipresent but even more mastered than ever. Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie is the culmination of Buñuel’s work : the perfect surrealism film. The uses of symbolism and camera techniques is really subtle and Buñuel doesn’t need to slice the eye of a woman or get a cow in the bed of two lovers. The many situations of Le charme... are already overly enough and the closer to realism it gets the better it is. The dreamlike sequences that always feel like if you were in reality but finally you weren’t at all embarks the viewer on a trip with the bourgeois that are trying to get diner together and enjoy a nice evening.
This series of events is packed with humorous dialogues and situations. Just like Woody Allen, another admirer of Buñuel’s work, I feel that this kind of hybrid film where humour and reflection means entertainment and Cinema. It is a smart film where subtlety uncovers the hypocrisy, the fears, and the vices of the bourgeois characters populating the film. The uniqueness unity of Le charme... brings you in common places and then just when the viewer thinks he knows how the situation will turn out Buñuel gets a bunny out of his hat. This master has many tricks in his bag. You have to see the film to fully understand the reach of the whole thing.
In 1972, there were many big successes: The Godfather, Cabaret, Deliverance, What’s Up Doc?, The Getaway, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were to Afraid to Ask), but in my opinion Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie along with Aguirre: The Wrath of God was the greatest film of that year. Unfortunately other films mentioned earlier will always make shadows on Buñuel’s greatest achievement.