Belle De Jour

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Catherine Denueve, Jean Sorel, Pierre Clementi, Michel Piccoli
Director: Luis Bunuel

In the blue corner we have public opinion and in the red corner we have critical reviews, who do you think will win? The answer is quite simply stating the obvious – the public always wins. Ultimately they or should I say you will see what you want to see, when you want to see it! Nothing gets the public more intrigued than controversy, particularly when there is mention of a film being or having been banned in the past, oh then they really start salivating. This little number with the French superstar Catherine Denueve has critical acclaim to the point of it being shown to many a film student at university. Hailed as great surrealism, or is that just an excuse for a mixed up bag of goods?

Alas for me just like the little child who literally saw through the emperor’s clothes, a bland film will always be a bland film, whichever way you try to dress it up!

Ms Denueve is the only reason this film probably got released, and as you get to see some of her bits, that is probably why there is such a fuss over it. If you picked any human being off the street and turned their little fantasy into a movie it would probably be shocking, perhaps funny or maybe just plain sick, but this does not mean that it would make a good movie. Only one scene evoked some emotion and this is close to the end when the husband to Ms Denueve’s character is told the truth about how his wife has secretly been working as a prostitute during most afternoons. By this point in the film he is blinded and crippled in a wheelchair and all you see are tear drops falling down his cheeks and his hands contorted in agony as he breathes his dying breath, that is truly great use of imagery. Standout performances are from the sublimely slimy Masson played by Michel Piccoli and from Jean Sorrel, the thespian playing the overly patient husband who is blind to what is happening right underneath his nose.

Great for film students and most film critics but not for the average moviegoer.

2 out of 6 stars

Share