Sunday, April 30, 2006

Belle de jour d. Luis Bunuel, 1967

Something about Bunuel; tonally, him and I are on different planets. (I'd like to chalk it up to the Surrealists: I feel the same way about Dali. However, I'm head over heels for Magritte. Alas.) Rife with condescension, Bunuel's films - Belle de jour in particular - feel like sarcastic exercises in negation; ad infinitum, Bunuel shows us how not to live, how not to act. Here, the victim of Bunuel's sarcasm is muddled: is this the upper crust we're looking at, or married couples? Perhaps sex is the object? Things are shown that are contradictions of terms: a bourgeois housewife plays hooker dress-up; daydreams are conflated with the quotidian. But what of it? The medium of film is already a strange enough play between reality and fantasy, to thematize it seems redundant. (Again, I feel quite the same way about Dali's dimensionalizing of space. When it comes down to it, Deleuze, Bergson, and Virilio have said it already, and with a good deal more eloquence.) Quite possibly, excepting maybe The Discreet Charm (which I'll be seeing again next weekend), Bunuel is just one of those filmmakers I don't connect with.


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