A Film and its Era: Le Charme discret de la Bourgeoisie (Luis Bunuel)
Luis Buñuel directed The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie in 1972. Portrait of a film: Belonging to the same circle of worldly notables, six characters try repeatedly to share a meal but each attempt fails, due either to the intrusion of strangers or to unforeseen events. No plot or psychology, and characters that are archetypes (an ambassador, two bourgeois couples, a bishop, a colonel, a minister, terrorists, gangsters) in a film between past and present, between memory and fantasy, between dream and reality. Portrait of an Era: Despite its surreal side, the film is very rooted in the early 70’s. Buñuel, who never hid his sympathy for the spirit of May 68, does not make a militant movie but shoots, amidst the leftist agitation, an ironic and satirical fable: all the representatives of official order, of the economic and political powers are murderers and criminals. There is a kind of jubilation in the provocation. Portrait of a Filmmaker : In 1972, Buñuel, born in Aragon at the turn of the century, is 72. Jean-Claude Carrière is then his established writer, signing with him The Diary of a Chambermaid, The Milky Way, The Phantom of Liberty and That Obscure Object of Desire, his last film. The filmmaker that began with two master strokes (Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or), scandalous masterpieces of surrealism, remained a lonely man, fleeing the press, marked by exile, and whose work was always sulfurous. An antifascist, he set foot again in Spain only in 1960 to film Viridiana, Palme d’Or at Cannes but banned (as many of his films) by Franco. Buñuel died in Mexico in 1983.