Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
Original title: La Charme Discret De La Bourgeoisie
France/Italy/Spain, 1972. Greenwich Film Productions. Scenario by Luis Bunuel, in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carriere. Cinematography by Edmond Richard. Produced by Serge Silberman. Production Design by Pierre Guffroy. Costume Design by Jacqueline Guyot. Film Editing by Helene Plemiannikov.
Hilarious satire about upper-class life as seen by the genius of Luis Buñuel. Three couples spend the entire film gathering for meals in various places and at all hours of the day but can never get to the point where they actually eat, thanks to interruptions that become increasingly stranger as the film progresses. The pointed criticism of the nouveau riche is laid out pretty broadly: when working-class terrorists finally get to have their social say they are muffled by outside noises every time they open their mouths, or an army apologies to the classy dinner clan for the “noise” his army troops are making outside while fighting an important battle. Bunuel shows as much delight for both this silly thing we’ve created called civilization as well as the banal carnality lurking beneath it. All cast members are excellent, especially Delphine Seyrig and Stéphane Audran as two of the high society ladies, and as always Bunuel’s deft touch with the combination of fantasy and reality is perfectly even.
The Criterion Collection: #102
Academy Award: Best Foreign Language Film
Nomination: Best Original Story and Screenplay
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Foreign Language Foreign Film