The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Paul Frankeur, Delphine Seyrig, Fernando Rey, Bulle Ogier, Stéphane Audran, and Jean-Pierre Cassel in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie [Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie] (dir. Luis Buñuel, 1972).

June 14th is Bloody Sergeant Day! I'm marking that on my calendar from now on.

Structurally, this resembles nothing so much as a loosely-connected string of Monty Python skits. The humor is more muted, but not really less subtle. Which is to say, it veers away from outright slapstick only to the extent necessary to maintain the illusion that realism of some sort might still be viable at any moment. The most surprising thing about the film's satire is how gentle is, relatively speaking: Buñuel never seems to have outright contempt for even the most corrupt and irresponsible of his bourgeois puppets. In fact, the most immoral of them all, the drug-smuggling ambassador from "the Republic of Miranda," played by Fernando Rey, is essentially cute. They're all cute, and at times even intrepid. In his way, Buñuel was as indulgent of the middle class he skewered as, say, Wes Anderson is now. The most appalling moment occurs when the main characters bring a chauffeur into the house and offer him a martini--so they can comment after he leaves about how he gulps it instead of sipping it. But I'm sorry, that chauffeur was a dull lout. And we all know how Buñuel felt about his martinis. The Criterion DVD includes a short in which he gives his recipe for the "Buñueloni":

I'm impressed that Buñuel collaborator Jean-Claude Carrière also wrote the script for Jess Franco's The Diabolical Doctor Z, or Miss Muerte, which I commented on here last year. Whoa, check it out--also The Return of Martin Guerre, The Tin Drum, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. And the Martin Guerre remake Sommersby with Richard Gere! Cat gets around.