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Belle de jour

A bored and neglected housewife (Catherine Deneuve) risks her reputation to take up a daring new hobby.

Image from Belle de jour

France-Italy 1967
Dir Luis Buñuel
With Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli, Geneviève Page
English subtitles
Certificate 18
A Park Circus-STUDIOCANAL release

Bored housewife Séverine (Deneuve), in love with but sexually remote from her surgeon husband, starts spending her afternoons at a high-class brothel. Soon, given the jealous desire she arouses in some clients, her anonymity and marriage are at risk. True to his surrealist roots, Buñuel blurs the distinction between ‘reality’ and Séverine’s masochistic fantasies; he also eschews sensationalism, opting for subtle details all the more intriguing in their ambiguity. Like the production design and costumes, Sacha Vierny’s cinematography and Séverine herself, this newly restored classic exudes elegance – but that, Buñuel reminds us, counts for little compared to the inner life...

Geoff Andrew, Programmer-at-large

Also available on BFI Player from 8 September.


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