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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel directed ‘The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie’ in 1972 towards the end of his career and in the middle of a fruitful two-decade collaboration with the much younger French writer Jean-Claude Carrière. The film’s playful prodding of middle-class values and slippery grip on the difference between dreams and reality continues to influence directors today, from Roman Polanski’s ‘Carnage’ to Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Synecdoche, New York’. As such, perhaps it has now slightly lost its special strangeness, but ‘The Discreet Charm’ remains both an amusing satire on polite society and a tricksy exercise in pulling the rug out from under our expectations. The story, which has an increasingly improvisatory feel, sees six bourgeois French folk move through various, aborted attempts to sit down for a meal, including a visit to a private home on the wrong day and a trip on the same night to a restaurant where the deceased patron is lying in state in the back room. It still has a compelling and mischievous energy to it.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday June 29 2012
Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Luis Buñuel
Screenwriter: Luis Buñuel, Jean-Claude Carrière
Cast: Fernando Rey
Delphine Seyrig
Stéphane Audran
Bulle Ogier
Jean-Pierre Cassel
Paul Frankeur
Julien Bertheau
Michel Piccoli