Belle de jour

Tagline : Luis Bunuel's Masterpiece of Erotica!

Runtime : 101 mins

Genre : Drama Romance

Vote Rating : 7.4/10


Reviews for this movie are available below.

Plot : Beautiful young housewife Séverine Serizy cannot reconcile her masochistic fantasies with her everyday life alongside dutiful husband Pierre. When her lovestruck friend Henri mentions a secretive high-class brothel run by Madame Anais, Séverine begins to work there during the day under the name Belle de Jour. But when one of her clients grows possessive, she must try to go back to her normal life.

Cast Members

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Reviews

A wonderful parable of love, relationships and the place in both for fantasy and imagination. Certainly much more enjoyable to watch, not to mention better acted and directed, than recent delvings into that subject matter, like Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac (though that wasn't the latter's point). Intensely beautifully photographed, with wonderful performances, most especially by Catherine Deneuve. You can't go wrong with 60's and 70's Bunuel, that's for sure.

A blunt surprise insofar as the movies stark depictions of both a young woman's eccentric erotic fantasies alongside a rather harsh alternative lifestyle. In the middle there is a very conventional and ordinary real life tale of a married couple where the husband has no idea what's going on within his wife's mind, and life, both past and present. Reality and fantasy seem to blend in a young woman's mind implicitly suggestive of prior experiences that influenced the lead character's real and imaginary manifestations. Not for children.

The slightly kinky opening scenes of this film go some way to explaining just why "Severine" (Catherine Deneuve) isn't so satisfied with her handsome yet sexually uninspiring husband "Pierre" (Jean Sorel). Indeed, quickly we gather that they are yet to consummate their nuptials at all! Increasingly exasperated, she hears of a "facility" run by "Madame Anais" (Geneviève Page) where some of those kinks might be ironed out! Initially a little apprehensive, she proceeds to make a wide variety of new friends as her daytime occupation soon fills in the gaps left lacking in her still happy marriage to the oblivious "Pierre". It's when she is introduced to the rather enigmatic young "Marcel" (Pierre Clémenti) that things become a bit more fraught. He has an impressive array of metal teeth, for a start - and as he becomes more of a regular he becomes a bit infatuated. She takes steps to distance them, but when he finds where she lives things turn a bit nasty. Deneuve is great here as the classy hooker with fetish tendencies, as is Page as the sagely and businesslike mistress. It's Buñuel's clever adaptation of the quirky Joseph Kessel novel that really does allow Deneuve to deliver an engaging, if not always likeable, "Severine" character effectively. Developing her into one that's both loyal, independent and genuinely conflicted whilst loving her erotic peccadilloes and so, ultimately, might we as we watch her juggle with increasing aplomb her two, contradictory, existences. The film is almost opulent - without the need for "period" grandeur, and the score breathes extra life into this potent story of a woman's search for fulfilment and fun!

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