l’attrice Macha Méril
Buñuel is a very academic director. Did you see Belle de jour? It’s a really pompier film. That’s why I like it.
Salvador Dalí in Max Aub, Conversations with Luis Buñuel, Jefferson, 2017
“The motivation for the prize [Leone d’oro] in Venice said that ‘the film confirms the significant experience of surrealism of which Luis Buñuel is one of the most illustrious representatives’. There is nothing conventional about this statement. In fact, Luis Buñuel gave us one of the rare films that are both entertainment and a work of art. He achieved this especially thanks to his experience with surrealism, perhaps the only avant-garde movement that has changed and enriched our vision of the world” (Alberto Moravia). In 1967 Moravia was the head of the prophetic jury of the pre-68 Venice Film Festival. I remember how at the press conference the mocking Aragonese director persistently feigned deafness so as to avoid explanatory answers. Buñuel gave us free rein to choose between fantasy and reality. While in Italy, clericalists and anti-clericalists fought over the ‘meaning’ of Belle de jour – and the censor board snipped away at it –, in other learned lands connected to surrealism the likes of Robert Benayoun and Raymond Durgnat explored its myriad nuances. “Several years ago Buñuel spoke to me about Belle de jour as ‘a comedy in which I used the memories a prostitute in Barcelona had confided in me about her profession’. The film is dotted with dreams that have nothing to do with the subversive reality of the underlying plot […]. Surrealists always greeted the unreal with great pomp, making it the feather in their cap, but they never abided by it. ‘The imaginary’, said Breton, ‘is what tends to become real’”. “Buñuel’s view of the mind is more sophisticated and scientifically more accurate than rationalism’s summary division between the conscious and the unconscious. Between rationality and deep dream are many strata each constantly irrupting into the interstices of the other. Such a merging is achieved with Buñuel’s very, very slow dissolve, virtually a superimposition, between the forests, the stonily civilized and the dreamily organic”.
Cast and Credits
Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo di Joseph Kessel. Scen.: Luis Buñuel, Jean-Claude Carrière. F.: Sacha Vierny. M.: Louisette Hautecoeur. Scgf.: Robert Clavel. Int.: Catherine Deneuve (Séverine Serizy), Jean Sorel (Pierre Serizy), Michel Piccoli (Henri Husson), Geneviève Page (signora Anaïs), Pierre Clémenti (Marcel), Françoise Fabian (Charlotte), Macha Méril (Renée), Muni (Pallas). Prod.: Robert Hakim, Raymond Hakim per Paris Film Production, Five Film. DCP 4K. D.: 100’. Col.
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