Wednesday 14 March 2012
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie 
Luis Bunuel was to cinema what Salvatore Dali was to painting, and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, considered by many as his greatest work, was his masterclass in surrealism. On one hand this was an acerbic commentary and a trenchant satire on class politics and hypocrisies, while on the other this absurdist comedy was Bunuel’s attempts to play truants on his audience by subverting the very process of filmmaking. The film has as its focus Don Raphael (Fernando Ray), the Ambassador to France of a fictitious Latin American country called Miranda, and his group of wealthy socialite friends. The recurring theme of the movie is their plans of going for dinners that never seem to come to pass – some event or the other, ranging from the mundane, like petty misunderstandings, to the bizarre, like the sudden arrival of an army garrison or their ending up being in a dream, keep obstructing their desire to enjoy a nice meal together. In fact, the dream within dream sequences during the last third of the film would probably rank among the most flippant jokes that a filmmaker has ever played on his audience. Oftentimes the sequences would begin as if they’re being played out in “real” only to end with one of the characters waking up – the one where the group while preparing to dine find out that they are on the stage in front of a jeering audience assuming them to be actors, would probably rank among the most ingenious moments in cinema as also an incredibly witty jab on derivative nature of the medium itself. And if these weren't enough, juxtaposed against the dry humour and mordant ironies are the chronicling of dreams laden with disturbing imagery and symbolisms by otherwise stray characters.
Director: Luis Bunuel
Genre: Black Comedy/Social Satire/Surrealist Film/Avant-Garde