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Three Films by Luis Buñuel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty, That Obscure Object of Desire) - Criterion Collection

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Genres: Drama
Director: Luis Buñuel
Plot Synopsis:

More than four decades after he took a razorblade to an eyeball and shocked the world with Un chien andalou, arch-iconoclast Luis Buñuel capped his astonishing career with three final provocations—The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, The Phantom of Liberty, and That Obscure Object of Desire—in which his renegade, free-associating surrealism reached its audacious, self-detonating endgame. Working with such key collaborators as screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and his own frequent on-screen alter ego Fernando Rey, Buñuel laced his scathing attacks on religion, class pretension, and moral hypocrisy with savage violence to create a trio of subversive, brutally funny masterpieces that explore the absurd randomness of existence. Among the director's most radical works as well as some of his greatest international triumphs, these films cemented his legacy as cinema's most incendiary revolutionary.

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

In Luis Buñuel's deliciously satiric masterpiece, an upper-class sextet sits down to a dinner that is continually delayed, their attempts to eat thwarted by vaudevillian events both actual and imagined, including terrorist attacks, military maneuvers, and ghostly apparitions. Stringing together a discontinuous, digressive series of absurdist set pieces, Buñuel and his screenwriting partner Jean-Claude Carrière send a cast of European-film greats—including Fernando Rey, Stéphane Audran, Delphine Seyrig, and Jean-Pierre Cassel—through a maze of desire deferred, frustrated, and interrupted. The Oscar-winning pinnacle of Buñuel's late-career ascent as a feted maestro of the international art house, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is also one of his most gleefully radical assaults on the values of the ruling class.

The Phantom of Liberty

Luis Buñuel's vision of the inherent absurdity of human social rituals reaches its taboo-annihilating extreme in what may be his most morally subversive and formally audacious work. Zigzagging across time and space, from the Napoleonic era to the present day, The Phantom of Liberty unfolds as a picaresque, its main character traveling between tableaux in a series of Dadaist non sequiturs. Unbound by the laws of narrative logic, Buñuel lets his surrealist's id run riot in an exuberant revolt against bourgeois rationality that seems telegraphed directly from his unconscious to the screen.

That Obscure Object of Desire

Luis Buñuel's final film brings full circle the director's lifelong preoccupation with the darker side of desire. Buñuel regular Fernando Rey plays Mathieu, an urbane widower, tortured by his lust for the elusive Conchita. With subversive flair, Buñuel uses two different actors in the latter role—Carole Bouquet, a sophisticated French beauty, and Ángela Molina, a Spanish coquette. Drawn from the surrealist favorite Pierre Louÿs's classic erotic novel La femme et le pantin (The Woman and the Puppet, 1898), That Obscure Object of Desire is a dizzying game of sexual politics punctuated by a terror that harks back to Buñuel's avant-garde beginnings.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • New high-definition digital restorations of all three films, with uncompressed monaural soundtracks
  • The Castaway of Providence Street, a 1971 homage to Luis Buñuel made by his longtime friends and fellow filmmakers Arturo Ripstein and Rafael Castanedo
  • Speaking of Buñuel, a documentary from 2000 on Buñuel's life and work
  • Once Upon a Time: "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," a 2011 television program about the making of the film
  • Interviews from 2000 with screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière on The Phantom of Liberty and That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Archival interviews on all three films featuring Carrière; actors Stéphane Audran, Muni, Michel Piccoli, and Fernando Rey; and other key collaborators
  • Documentary from 1985 about producer Serge Silberman, who worked with Buñuel on five of his final seven films
  • Analysis of The Phantom of Liberty from 2017 by film scholar Peter William Evans
  • Lady Doubles, a 2017 documentary featuring actors Carole Bouquet and Ángela Molina, who share the role of Conchita in That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Portrait of an Impatient Filmmaker, Luis Buñuel, a 2012 short documentary featuring director of photography Edmond Richard and assistant director Pierre Lary
  • Excerpts from Jacques de Baroncelli's 1929 silent film La femme et le pantin, an adaptation of Pierre Louÿs's 1898 novel of the same name, on which That Obscure Object of Desire is also based
  • Alternate English-dubbed soundtrack for That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Trailers
  • New English subtitle translations
  • PLUS: Essays by critic Adrian Martin and novelist and critic Gary Indiana, along with interviews with Buñuel by critics José de la Colina and Tomás Pérez Turrent
  • Release Details
    Release Date: November 5th, 2020
    MPAA Rating: Not Rated
    Movie Release Year: 1977
    Release Country: United States
    Movie Studio: Criterion Collection
  • Technical Specs
    Length:308 Minutes
    Specs:3 x Blu-ray Discs
    Video Resolution/Codec:1080p AVC/MPEG-4
    Aspect Ratio(s):1.66:1
    Audio Formats:French: LPCM Mono
    Subtitles/Captions:English