Thursday, January 25, 2007
The bourgeois subjects of Buñuel's film are shown symbolically from time to time walking down a road. They appear to be nowhere in particular, heading nowhere in particular, and uninterested in either arriving or not arriving some place. The rest of The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is an attempt by these characters to have dinner together. Or perhaps lunch. Or maybe only cocktails. This narrative is disrupted at times by their dreams, and where the dreams end and the reality begins is anyone's guess. The dreams function to deflate the characters' egos, or provide release via revenge fantasies, or to create some meaning or adventure to a bland albeit comfy existence. My favorite scene? The host couple attempt a nooner and are interrupted by their lunch guests. They awkwardly escape their home by climbing down from a window and enjoy a quicky in the garden. Meanwhile their guests leave, fearing the police are coming to raid the house, and the local bishop arrives to discover our disheveled heroes with grass in their hair.
The banality of bourgeois concerns--the quality of cavier, the method of martini mixture, the number of minutes per pound for a lamb roast--is ably lampooned, as is the hypocrisy of the class system. The Church, the police, and the military suffer sound drubbings as well. I laughed a lot. I do prefer Godard's Weekend. But The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie has hotter chicks, and much less cannibalism.