Belle Toujours

From the Chicago Reader (October 20, 2006). — J.R.

Manoel de Oliveira’s sequel — or tribute, or speculative footnote — to Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carriere’s Belle de Jour (1967) differs from that transgressive classic by being less about Severine (played here by Bulle Ogier, in the original by Catherine Deneuve), a devoted wife who secretly works as a prostitute to fulfill her secret masochistic desires, and more about Henri Husson (Michel Piccoli in both films), a rakish aristocrat who discovers her secret. (It’s also more about class and less about sexual desire.) Husson arranges a meeting with a reluctant Severine many decades later, and de Oliveira stages their dinner like a lush religious ceremony, albeit one with a couple of witty and pungent punch lines. In French with subtitles. 70 min.


This entry was posted in Featured Texts. Bookmark the permalink.