A Film For November: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

A film about six metropolitan sophisticates trying to meet for dinner. Exuding status the friends are completely sure of themselves and their place in society but under this bland exterior of flimsy manners there’s greed and lust, drug dealing and military coups all wrapped up in peach chiffon, pussy bow blouses, platform heels and loudly checked suits, well it’s 1972!

For a group of people always used to getting their own way this satirical comedy of manners puts their quest for the most conventional of evenings out of their reach.

Sometimes they all manage to meet, sometimes the food gets to the table and sometimes they even begin to eat but the whole dinner party event is never going to happen. The reasons can be silly, like the cafe that has run out of everything or harrowing, like the young soldier who tells them the story of his childhood, which we see in flashbacks or most often absurd, like the roast chickens that turn to plastic stage props. These bizarre and mysterious misunderstandings are sometimes real and sometimes dreams but there’s no difference between them and the characters just accept the situations they find themselves in, and we must too, there are no explanations. Why wouldn’t the bishop want to dress up and be the gardener?

Directed by Luis Buñuel and co-written with Jean-Claude Carrière, I loved the anarchic disrespect for authority and daft convention. It’s France, the birds are singing extra loudly and there are snails Chablis style on the menu. It’s a bit bloody, a bit gothic, a bit bonkers and I thought very funny.

10 thoughts on “A Film For November: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

  1. Very 70s indeed, I don’t think I have seen it but I don’t see how I could have escaped it, I’m French and it must have shown on TV when I was a kid… Love Jean-Claude Carrière, anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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